First detachment of trained military priests of the UOC-KP sets off to ATO area
On August 7, 2015, after the intensive training schedule the first detachment of military priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church–Kyiv Patriarchate left for the ATO zone.
The uniqueness of this event lies in the systematic work, because all preparation steps were undertaken in close cooperation with the General Staff of Ukraine and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. As a result, military priests were divided into 4 groups based on the soldiers’ needs and according to the number of sectors in the ATO. Every priest was assigned to the military unit located in the respective sector of the ATO area.
On the blessing of Patriarch Filaret of Kyiv and All Rus-Ukraine, every military priest was provided with theuniform, ankle boots and chevrons. Before their secondment, all military priests received relevant documents from the Synodal Department for Military Clergymen and the General Staff to enter the zone of hostilities. Military commanders of the relevant units contacted with the priests and agreed on the terms of their arrival on August 7 in the morning.
Previous to the departure of military priests, Chairman of the Synodal Department for Military Clergymen Metropolitan Ioan of Cherkasy and Chyhyrin served a prayer of invocation to the Holy Spirit. It was reported by Kyiv Patriarchate press-service.
As it was previously reported, the decision to implement the training system for military chaplains of the UOC-KP was adopted at a meeting of the Holy Synod of the UOC-KP on July 8, 2015.
The Synod approved to oblige all priests of the UOC Kyiv Patriarchate - citizens of Ukraine aged from 25 to 55 (except those unfit for health reasons, or those occupying important managerial positions), to serve as military clergymen (chaplains) in units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukrainein consultation with the diocesan bishop and synodal administration.