Not a single UGCC priest has left his place of service in the occupied territories, - Patriarch Sviatoslav
"I am proud of our fathers in Kherson. Glorious Chornobayivka is 7 km from their monastery. I am proud of our fathers in Melitopol and other occupied cities in the south of Ukraine. Yes, they are invited to talk, they are visited, and so on. But they continue to serve, feed people, and be the only support and reference point for people in those difficult times," Patriarch Svyatoslav said.
He also shares his pain over Mariupol: "My special pain is Mariupol. Our priest in Mariupol was one of the last to leave during this humanitarian corridor. And last week, a tank shot at our Caritas house in Mariupol, and two people were killed there. That is, the Caritas of Ukraine, as a church aid structure, even in such extreme conditions, worked there to the last. We don't have all the information right now. Likely, this outpost of the church's humanitarian ministry is still paralyzed. But we're doing our best."
Patriarch Svyatoslav also told about the territories that were occupied but have already been cleared:
"I will only mention to you only two sites. Chernihiv, where our Redemptorist fathers and priests lived all the time under bombs with our people. Thank God that everyone is safe and sound. Because Chernihiv was under tactical occupation. There were times when we couldn't reach them because there was no light or heat. But they heroically served this time.
But a particularly symbolic case is our priest in Slavutych with his wife. I was so worried about him, and I prayed so much for him! There was such a moment that he managed to make his way from Slavutych with our military to Kyiv to take humanitarian aid. I saw him here at the Patriarchal Cathedral. He said that, unfortunately, he could not return quickly because Russian tanks had entered, and the road on which he left now is closed. With him was a high-ranking officer, to whom I said, "Mr. officer, save that priest for me. Because everything will be in their place — tanks, houses — but I won't have such a guy anymore." And, you know, then they came back and made their way to this encircled city. His pregnant wife experienced the beginning of the occupation and then gave birth to her third child in a dark, cold maternity hospital by candlelight. This is generally, you know, like some kind of Easter sacrament. At some point, Russian troops entered Slavutych. I immediately call him and ask, "What are you doing?». He said: "I am standing with people, with a cross in front of a Russian tank." Just imagine! Tears come to my eyes. And Slavutych survived."