President of Ukraine and Prime Minister of Australia took part in the prayer in Melbourne Greek Catholic Cathedral in Australia
President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott took part in the prayer in St. Peter's and Paul's Cathedral to honor the memory of people who had died in the MH17 tragedy, the heroes of the Heavenly Hundred and the ATO warriors who had sacrificed their lives in battles for independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, Poroshenko's official page informs.
President Poroshenko and the Australian Prime Minister have been met by the representatives of the Ukrainian community of Australia near the cathedral. Head of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organizations Stefan Romaniw has told the President: "Your visit is a symbol of unity, support and trust between the two countries. Ukrainian diaspora is the integral part of the Ukrainian people".
Petro Poroshenko expressed gratitude to almost 40 thousand Ukrainians living in Australia for their attention to the problems of the Homeland and active support in the course of the G20 meeting, when Ukrainians of Australia have demonstrated their power. "Ukraine is always in your hearts. Low bow and respect to Ukrainians living in Australia," the President said. Petro Poroshenko noted that Ukraine was going through the most difficult period in its history. "Ukrainians of the entire world are united as never before. Your contribution is extremely important for the victory of Ukraine," the Head of State said.
Please watch Poroshenko's speech in Ukrainian
In his turn, the Prime Minister of Australia noted: "If freedom of one country is being limited, it restricts freedom in the entire world". Tony Abbott expressed gratitude for the position and assistance of President Poroshenko in the investigation of the MH17 tragedy. He also expressed hope to expand cooperation between Ukraine and Australia.
Reverend fathers, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. To President Petro Poroshenko, my friend, thank you for that splendid address. A little bit of it was translated to me and all I can see in response is that shirtfront must have translated well!
In the summer of 1982, I was walking the streets of Kiev. I heard music coming from a church, not unlike this. I went inside and was utterly spellbound by the singing. It was truly the voice of men and angels and it is such a pleasure to hear it again today.
I thought to myself then it may be only people who suffer for their faith that truly know what faith is.
Stalin used to boast that religion would die out in the Soviet Union because Russia would one day run out of grannies. Well, Russia never did, no country ever has and each generation in turn has found its faith because faith arouses something deep in the human heart.
I'm reminded of the story of the funeral of the Russian dictator, Leonid Brezhnev. He had devoted his life to an ideology that stamped out all opposition, persecuted those of faith and sought to impose the will of large countries on small ones.
But at his funeral, after the last regiment had marched past and the last state anthem had been sung and as the open coffin was about to be closed, his widow leaned over and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest.
The survival of faith, the flourishing of faith and the survival and the flourishing of the nations that are sustained by it – what a marvellous story.
Here, in this splendid church, I should acknowledge the part that faith has played in our culture and in our public life, in the culture and public life of civilised countries. Our democracy is inspired by the gospel insight that every human being is born with equal rights and dignity in the eyes of God. Our justice is inspired by the gospel insight that each of us should treat others as we would have them treat us in turn.
Today, we pray for the victims of the MH17 atrocity. We pray for all 298 of them. We particularly pray for the 38 Australians who are amongst them. We pray for their families in their time of grief and loss.
We acknowledge the Ukrainian people who did so much for them in that terrible time and who continue to work with Australians, Dutch and Malaysians to ensure that the perpetrators of that atrocity are brought to justice.
I particularly acknowledge today the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko.
Israel aside, there would hardly be a country on earth so subject to existential threat as Ukraine is.
If the freedom of one country is diminished, the freedom of all is diminished.
I have come to know Petro Poroshenko quite well over the last few months and I want to say that not just Ukraine, but freedom has a great champion in Ukraine's President.
Today, in this cathedral, we pray for all countries and all peoples striving for peace with freedom. We pray for all people striving for rights and respect. We pray for them all and we ask that the good Lord, the living God, will give them strength and success.