State and church leaders of Ukraine and Poland pay tribute to the victims of violence in Volhynia during WW II

State and church leaders of Ukraine and Poland pay tribute to the victims of violence in Volhynia during WW II - фото 1
On Sunday, July 9th, in the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul of the Roman Catholic Church in Lutsk, Patriarch Sviatoslav of the UGCC, together with the Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine, Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, Head of the Polish Episcopal Conference, Bishop Vitaliy Skomarovsky, Bishop of Lutsk and Head of the Ukrainian Episcopal Conference, and representatives of the UGCC, participated in a prayerful commemoration of the victims of violence in Volhynia during World War II on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the tragedy.

This was reported by the Information Department of the UGCC.

The commemoration of the victims began with a joint prayer for reconciliation.

Later, the heads of state lit memorial candles as a sign of respect for the memory of the tragedy's victims.

"We stand united in honoring the memory of all the innocent victims of Volhynia. Together, we are stronger," President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Telegram, sharing photos with the Polish President.

After the prayer for reconciliation, a memorial Divine Liturgy was celebrated, presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine in the presence of the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda.

"We have gathered here in the heart of Lutsk for prayer. The value of such a prayer is that it changes the hearts of each of us," emphasized the Apostolic Nuncio. Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas mentioned three characteristics necessary for true conversion and forgiveness.

The first characteristic is sincere mourning for all the victims of the 80-year-old tragedy, which numbered in the tens of thousands.

The second characteristic of conversion is forgiveness.

"The third characteristic of conversion is the ability to love," he said. "The wounds of the past hinder us from loving today. What greater consolation can we bring to the victims? What greater joy can we bring to God Himself and the Savior? Undoubtedly, it is perfect love, which the Apostle Paul tells us about."

Patriarch Sviatoslav also addressed the attendees with a spiritual message.

"Today, here, around God's throne in Lutsk, we hear heaven and earth, the living and the dead speaking in unison to one another: we forgive and ask for forgiveness!" emphasized the Head of the UGCC.

"This is the mysterious Eucharist that unites in one heaven: Poles and Ukrainians, the living and the dead. We feel ourselves to be one people of God: Catholics of both rites, Orthodox, and Christians of other denominations. Here, around the throne, we feel that there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. The same heaven for Poles and Ukrainians, for people of different nations and nationalities," said the Patriarch of the UGCC.