Auxiliary Bishop of the RCC Diocese of Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia Jan Sobilo shared some observations about the life or rather survival of people in the occupied territories of Donbass
Having visited Donetsk and Luhansk before Christmas together with the Apostolic Nuncio, head of the Committee "Pope for Ukraine", Auxiliary Bishop of the RCC Diocese of Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia Jan Sobilo shared some observations about the life or rather survival of people in the occupied territories of Donbass.
"Anyone who has recently traveled to Donetsk or Luhansk could see people who live there and know how do they live. Personally, I can only speak of Catholics of two rites, as we made a pastoral visit to them, along with the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti. Therefore, I know it firsthand and speak about how difficult it is for them to survive today. The people we are talking about do not fall within any external assistance program that would ensure that they move to a quieter place. Not everyone has relatives in the areas controlled by Ukrainian government or abroad that could shelter them in their homes", stressed the bishop.
He explained why people stay on occupied territories. "Not everyone had savings to flee and buy a lodging elsewhere. Those who had, they have already done it. There were people who could barely make ends meet and just happened to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they do not see any prospects and options of moving to begin to build their lives again. And, nevertheless, being in extremely difficult conditions, our brothers and sisters retain their trust in God and love for Ukraine".
Bishop also objected to some accusations that people who are on these territories are separatists. "Many residents of Luhansk and Donetsk consider themselves Ukrainians, pray for their city, their country and believe that their stay in that place will be crowned by the return of the occupied territories to Ukraine. And they deserve greater respect and support from our side. Perhaps in the future, these areas will return to Ukraine exactly because they have stayed in there. Imagine just for a moment, that all who consider themselves Ukrainian patriots have left the occupied territories – wouldn’t then all the actions of the President and the Ukrainian army be pointless?! What is more important for us today: to fight for the land or the souls of people?"
The Pope for Ukraine is a special humanitarian initiative of Pope Francis, which aims to help all Ukraine residents affected by the war in the east and those who became IDPs.
On April 24, the Catholic Churches of Europe raised funds for the needs of victims of war in Ukraine announced by Pope Francis on April 3. First and the dearest, the Holy Father donated a significant personal contribution. The collected donations will be assigned exclusively to the population aggrieved by the war, without discrimination on faith, denomination or ethnicity.
To allocate the funds, the Pope has decided to establish the “in loco” the relevant Technical Committee consisting of the Chairman and four members. Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Jan Sobilo, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Kharkiv-Zaporizhzhia of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine to the office of Chairman of the said Committee.
Full text of the appeal please read at the official page of the action Pope for Ukraine