Press conference following the UGCC Synod in Rome
His Beatitude Sviatoslav talked to the media about the 10 working days of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, particularly emphasizing the Church's main pastoral task of "healing wounds in times of war."
"As a Church, we understand that the survival of our people depends not only on military or political support but also on our ability to heal the wounds of war. Each of us has been affected by the war: bishops, priests, monks, so we must learn to accompany people differently in our pastoral ministry," said the Head of the UGCC.
Commenting on the meeting of UGCC bishops with Pope Francis, His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasized: "We had a significant meeting with Pope Francis. Two hours of fraternal, open, sincere, and genuine dialogue. His Holiness postponed his meeting with us for an hour precisely to give our bishops the opportunity to express themselves and testify to what they are going through."
The Head of the UGCC added, "The Pope listened to us attentively and said, 'Perhaps you doubt whom the Pope is with, and this causes additional pain to Ukrainians, but I want to assure you that I am with you.' Now our task is to convey the Pope's words to our faithful."
In the context of discussing the role of the Holy See in the release of two Redemptorist priests arrested by the occupation authorities in Berdiansk, His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasized, "We are seeking all possible channels to at least find out about their fate. We have appealed to many international organizations to help expedite their release."
His Beatitude Sviatoslav also highlighted the significance of Cardinal Dziwisz's mission, who recently visited Beijing. "China is one of the main geopolitical players that has always declared its readiness to cooperate for the sake of peace," noted the Head of the UGCC. "Currently, Cardinal Dziwisz is in China after visits to Kyiv, Moscow, and Washington. For us, this is a clear sign that the Pope has not reconciled with the war. The Holy See and Pope Francis are not indifferent to what is happening in our country and are looking for all possible opportunities to put an end to this senseless and godless war."
"This mission opens certain channels. Everything we handed over to Cardinal Dziwisz in Kyiv, he took to Moscow, including the issue of the return of deported children and the list of many Ukrainian civilian citizens kidnapped and missing as a result of Russian aggression," His Beatitude Sviatoslav added.
Archbishop Borys Gudziak showed journalists a photo of students from the Papal College in 2015–2016, among them Oleh Tsunovskiy, who was on the front lines and lost his arm and leg due to an injury. "Young men and women like these are paying a high price today for what we call European values," emphasized Metropolitan Borys. He also pointed out that almost 30 years ago, Ukraine voluntarily gave up nuclear weapons, "making not only a political but also a Gospel gesture. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, our country had the third-largest nuclear potential. Ukraine had never prepared for war and, through the voluntary abandonment of its nuclear status, demonstrated to the whole world its intentions to build peace in international relations," stressed Bishop Borys, calling on the global community to remember this fact when it comes to guarantees of security for Ukraine.