Archbishop Thabo Mcgoba of South Africa visited UCU
Together with the delegation, Archbishop Revd Thabo Cecil Mcgoba met with Vice-rectors of the Ukrainian Catholic University Miroslav Marinovich and Oleg Yaskiv and dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology Fr. Yuri Shchurk. Archbishop Thabo Mcgob is considered one of the most influential Anglican confessors in South Africa. He is the youngest ever elected Archbishop of Cape Town (South Africa). A follower and de facto successor of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa's greatest spiritual leader and associate of Nelson Mandela.
Archbishop Thabo Mcgoba says the purpose of his visit is to see the terrible consequences of Russian aggression in Ukraine and to hear eyewitness accounts: "this is a 'witness visit' to hear, see and feel the stories of the people here and share them at home. All of us, as humanity, must promote peace, and war never brings peace. Today I met with UCU Vice-Rectors and academicians. We discussed prospects and stressed the importance of supporting the values of truth. Because it's the truth that makes us free."
The archbishop added that this is his first visit to Ukraine: "on the plane, I met a woman from Ukraine who was going to her grandfather's funeral. She was the most positive and open-minded woman I've met. She said: "My grandfather, who was 86 years old, was ready to stand up for the truth." I am surprised that in Ukraine, people live, smile, businesses work, people eat, walk, they live their own lives. I am convinced that life must overcome evil."
UCU Vice-Rector, dissident, and human rights activist Myroslav Marynovych thanked Archbishop Thabo Mcgoby for his desire to spread the truth about Russia's military aggression: "I am grateful that our partners and friends abroad are trying to understand and convey the truth about the war in Ukraine to the world. It is impossible to simply stop shooting to stop this war ― this does not work with the Russians. They violate all legislative and moral norms. We, Ukrainians, now see the light of truth and that darkness is a world of lies, tyranny, dictators."
Myroslav Marynovych also shared his dissident experience and spoke about Soviet terror, drawing parallels with the current Russian government.
Answering the Archbishop's question about the struggle of Ukrainians and the Christian context, Fr Yuriy Shchurko, dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology, noted that this war is a struggle of light with darkness: "we have no choice, we cannot give up, because we are fighting evil. If we surrender, we will be wiped off the face of the Earth. Russia and Putin have no moral principles."
Thabo Mcgoba is confident that love and courage will lead Ukrainians forward: "I want to appeal to Ukrainians and the whole world. We are created in the likeness of the Lord. Let's not break it. We must strive together for what brings peace, justice and prosperity to the world."
At the end of the meeting, Archbishop Thabo Mcgoba prayed together with representatives of the UCU delegation for peace in Ukraine and the world.
We would like to add that although the official authorities of South Africa feigned neutrality regarding Russia's war against Ukraine, Archbishop Thabo Mcgoba spoke out against Russian aggression in Ukraine. Thus, on March 2, 2022, during a service in the cathedral of st. George, on the occasion of the beginning of Lent, the archbishop called on the South African government to "unequivocally condemn" Russia's invasion of Ukraine and recalled that the invasion is a "gross violation" of Article 2.4 of the UN Charter. "We Africans complain about the terrible indifference of many Europeans to the suffering of Africans when there is conflict on our continent. So, do we seek to follow Europeans in their lack of compassion and resentment over the suffering that women and children suffer?" said Thabo Mcgob in one of the appeals. His visit to Ukraine was a manifestation of his support and solidarity with the Ukrainian people.