Polish and Ukrainian bishops signed joint declaration of reconciliation
Archbishop Jozef Michalik, head of the Polish Roman Catholic Episcopate, and Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, leader of Ukraine's Greek Catholic Church, were the chief signatories of the document.
The declaration calls on Poles and Ukrainians to “open minds and hearts to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation.”
The appeal accompanies the 70th anniversary of the Volhynia massacres, which took place in a Nazi-occupied region that had been divided between Poland and the Soviet Union prior to the Second World War.
“We are aware that only the truth can set us free, the truth, which does not beautify and does not omit, which does not pass over in silence, but leads to forgiveness,” today's statement reads.
Besides citing “the evil” that was done against ethnic Poles, the resolution also refers to Polish counter-attacks, and the partisan war that unfolded.
It is estimated that about 2000-3000 Ukrainians were killed in Volhynia, and about 20,000 more when the fighting spread to other areas of south east Poland (1944-1947).
“As leader of the Polish Episcopate, I carry the request for forgiveness from our Ukrainian brothers,” Michalik stressed.