It is crucially important for Ukraine that our pain is understood in Israel, Primate of UGCC said to President of Israel
Ukraine has been a victim of Russian aggression over the past five years. It survived the annexation of Crimea, the occupation of some areas of Donbas, while Russian "Grads" and bullets do not differentiate between a Catholic, an Orthodox, a Muslim or a Jew – they kill everyone. Now the Ukrainian people, which is an interfaith and multi-ethnic society, is wounded. And we all pray for peace,” the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church addressed the President of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin with such words. This is reported by the Department of Information of the UGCC.
"The war in Ukraine, as we hope, is the last imperial war in Europe. Perhaps the pain and prayer of Ukraine may be ‘a voice crying in the desert’: do not invest in war, because one launch of "Grad" costs a lot of money. All our efforts, prayers, solidarity are an investment in peace. For Ukraine and for representatives of religious organizations, it is extremely important that Israel understands our pain,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
The head of the UGCC is convinced that Israel and Ukraine historically have much in common. “We want to learn from your experience. We need to understand how the Israeli people now live because the religious freedom that Israel professes is also needed in Ukraine. This war in Ukraine is an attempt to bring everything back to the Soviet Union. This is a prospect that is being imposed through the force of arms on the Ukrainian society. For us, the Soviet Union also means the loss of religious freedom. After all, we were repressed by the Stalinist regime and, in fact, our Church was the largest official opposition to the communist regime,” the spiritual leader of the Greek Catholics reiterated.
He noted that the people of Ukraine need the world community sided with the victim of the unjust aggression that is our people now,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
The leader of Greek Catholics expressed his gratitude to the President of Israel for his meeting and openness, as well as hope that peace can be achieved through joint efforts.
“We pray for peace, we want to live in peace with everyone, but not everyone wants to live in peace with us. Our All-Ukrainian Council of Churches is one of the tools for building inter-religious, inter-confessional and inter-ethnic peace in Ukraine. We hope that through joint efforts here in Jerusalem, the Lord will hear Ukraine and bless our countries and give us peace,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav in the end.
As reported, the Head of the UGCC is a member of the AUCCRO delegation, which on March 4-6 is on an official visit to Israel. The program included official meetings of members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations with the President of the State of Israel, Speaker of the Knesset (Parliament), as well as other Israeli politicians and religious leaders. These meetings are aimed at strengthening friendly Ukrainian-Israeli relations, exchange of experience in the field of state-confessional cooperation, further development of a pilgrimage in the interests of both countries - both to Israel and to Ukraine.