Prayer service for peace in Ukraine held at Sofia square in Kyiv. And in many Ukrainian cities
On April 2, the interfaith prayer service for peace in Ukraine was held in Kyiv. In Sofia square, representatives of many faiths of Ukraine lifted their prayers to God. Among the attending hierarchs were Archbishop Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) of the UGCC, Bishop Volodymyr (Cherpak) of the UAOC, Bishop Stanislav Shyrokoradiuk of the RCC, senior bishop Mykhailo Panochko of the Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith of Ukraine and Bishop Marcos (Oganesyan) of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The ceremony was led by Patriarch Filaret (Denisenko). Numerous faithful gathered for the prayer, including the military servicemen and MPs.
This event was organized in the form of a prayer, during which representatives of all faiths read the prayer, following whichPatriarch Filaret blessed all believers. The main theme of the prayer was the request for the cessation of war. The clergymen asked the Almighty for the victory, for the release of hostages in Russia, Crimea and Donbas. The requests were lifted for health and well-being of Ukrainian soldiers, the strength of the country and its people.A particularly relevant request was to“impart wisdom to our enemies and turn them to the memory of thy commandments.” These words resonate with recent statements of the former ROC Synodal official, Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, whodoes not only denounce capital punishment for enemies, but rather welcomes such actions of their state.
However, the hierarchs did not limit themselves to the external problems. Bishop Vitaly (Skomorovskyy) focused on the problems of unemployment, social injustice, drug addiction, alcoholism. Among the negative developments in government offices he mentioned the total corruption, treason and promotion of gender ideology.
Bishop Mykhailo Panochko urged the faithful to do everything possible that the prayers were not only voiced, but reached Heavens. This theme was developed also by Patriarch Filaret, who declared a national fast on April 3 –for a supplication to God to give Ukraine victory.
The Hierarch of the UOC-KP also recalled the events of the past, such as the centenary of the restoration of Ukrainian statehood and once again urged those in power to rally around the main thing - the protection of our country. After the prayer the choir sang the spiritual hymn “God Great and One.”
It is noteworthy that among the clergy there were no official representatives of the UOC (MP). Most diocesan sites as well as the official website of the Church give no mention of any special arrangements for prayers for Ukraine. In fairness, we note that we found that the Kherson diocese of the UOC (MP) also held a similar prayer, but only in their own cathedral without the participation of other faiths. However, in the neighboring areas, i.e. Mykolaiv, Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk regions or occupied Crimea, no similar activities were arranged, according to the official website.
The faithful attending the prayer service welcomedthe initiatives of their Churches to rally around common problems. “People have been long united and we have no claims to each other. I hope that soon the hierarchy will also have no claim to each other, and our Christian Ukrainian Church will be able to properly communicate with each other without conflict,” a Protestant believer, Vitaliy from Kyiv region shared his experience.
The believers highly appreciate the churches as a moral voice of society. “Who if not the church should tellpeople, especially politicians about their wrongdoings?” this rhetoric question was asked by Ludmila, a believer of the UGCC in Ternopil, who learned about the prayer and left aside her business matters to go to the capital and to pray for our country.
Participation of the UOC-MP believers in the prayer service also confirms the thesis about unification of the people at the local level.“I am somewhat uneasy that norepresentatives of my church came to the prayer service, but this does not mean that I should not be here. It is my country, my soldiers and my future,” said Julia from Kyiv with inspiration. This was reported by RISU correspondent Dmytro Horyevoy.
As reported, the prayer service for victory and peace in Ukraine was initiated by the AUCCRO. The relevant text was signed by 9 of 18 denominations in Ukraine.