For the first time, military chaplains will be trained under a special program in Kyiv
The chaplain's mission is to stand by the servicemen, take care of their humanity and ensure spiritual stability. The head of the Military Institute, Brigadier General Anatoly Shevchenko, addressed those present at the celebrations on the occasion of the beginning of the training course with a welcoming speech.
"Having combat experience behind me, I clearly understand the role and place of a chaplain in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and especially in units that perform tasks on the front line. When I came to this position, I, together with the head of the military chaplaincy service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and MPs of Ukraine, initiated amendments to the current legislation, which allowed us to normalize the issue of conducting these courses in higher military educational institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and military training units of higher educational institutions," said the head of the Military Institute.
Metropolitan Ioan, chairman of the Synodal Department of the Military Clergy of the OCU, spoke about the difficult path to amend the law regulating the activities of military chaplains and on complete separation from the Moscow Patriarchate.
Unfortunately, during the Russian-Ukrainian war, we also have losses among military priests and chaplains. Therefore, all those present observed a minute of silence for the victims.
Representatives of various religious organizations made welcoming speeches during the event. Bishop Mykhailo Koltun, head of the military chaplaincy Department of the patriarchal Curia of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, also spoke to the audience.
"Together with you, we are discovering the world, the world of Ukraine. We create it and fill it not only with our presence, but also with the activities and vocation that God gives us. I encourage you to pray and teach it to others. The main thing is to believe what we pray for, and today we are all praying for victory. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Ukraine! And everything else will happen," the hierarch said.
During the event, it was repeatedly emphasized that the most important task of a chaplain is to tell a person in extreme conditions, who is afraid, who does not want to die and wants to win, that God has not abandoned them, that He continues to accompany them in the most difficult circumstances of their life and always remains by their side.
The representative of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine, Bishop Pavlo Honcharuk, wished the military chaplains to be a sign of the presence of God and, at the same time, the road through which he comes.
"My father once said that to love is to take responsibility. Accordingly, to love Ukraine means to take responsibility for it. I want to wish you to be a sign of God's presence and, at the same time, a path through which God comes... in answers, support, and hints. A God who comes to embrace, support and say a kind word, " Bishop Pavlo Honcharuk said.
Ukrainian military chaplains constantly exchange experience and knowledge with foreign colleagues on spiritual support issues. This was noted by the head of the military chaplaincy service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine of the Office of the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel Oleksiy Tereshchuk.
"In 2019, when I was at the School of military chaplaincy in Canada, I saw firsthand that a military chaplain should be in uniform, with an officer's rank and next to a soldier, officer and Commander. Because everyone needs spiritual support. I would like to thank representatives of all religious organizations, the Department of military education and science of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and especially the Military Institute for preparing this course.
Only through joint efforts can we build an effective system for meeting the spiritual and religious needs of the Ukrainian soldier in order to achieve our victory.
In conclusion, the participants held a joint prayer.