The Council of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in the United States urged the world community to defend Ukraine
Bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA called all the clergy and faithful of the UOC of the USA to appeal to the US President, members of Congress, Senators, government leaders and legislators that they defend strongly Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church hierarchs in the US warn Ukrainian authorities: "The voice of the people must be heard and can not be suppressed by the noise of weapons and uncertainty of those in leadership positions, who choose confusion and abuse.
"Remembering the sacrifices of many for the benefit of those who live on…
Two years ago the world in awe witnessed the redefining events in the life of 25-year-old independent Ukraine – a redefinition, which had great impact on history books and our lives as the profound expression of democracy exploded on the streets of the nation’s capital – the city of Kyiv. The parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA once again were bathed in candlelight as vigils and prayers were offered for the ancestral homeland by so many of the faithful of the UOC of the USA and throughout the world.
The events of November 2013 and throughout the winter months of 2014 in the life of independent Ukraine and her aspirations to continue the development of true democratic society came under a severe threat. Thousands of Ukrainian citizens stood up for their beliefs by participating in protests – known as Maidans – based on their location in the central squares (maidans) throughout Ukraine, in addition to Kyiv. Hundreds of lives were lost protecting the sacred precepts of God-given independence and the physical borders of a very young European nation. Now, two years later, nearly 10,000 more have perished in the defense of that independence against foreign invasion in the Donbas region, an invasion by Russian troops (“volunteers”) claiming to “protect” Ukrainian citizens of Russian descent against discrimination and “threat” which did not exist.
Throughout Ukraine’s history – even before the Maidans – millions (no, not thousands or tens of thousands) of people have given their lives for freedom, dignity and human rights, in order to reclaim the right to peaceful demonstration as well as political and civil activity. All our lives we have studied the history of our Ukrainian nation and throughout our ministry we have held in our arms the victims of the aggression coming from the threshold of the neighboring Russian Federation, the survivors of the suppression, repression, family separation, gulags, torture, Holodomor – death by starvation - looking into their eyes as they remember the millions of their own family members lost “for the good of the empire”. We witnessed the joy in their faces as they thanked God for the freedom of their nation - their whole, united nation - before independence and over the past 25 years since the referendum on independence passed overwhelmingly throughout all the nation.
As the result of this, in the face of threats to that independence, that we reflect at this second anniversary on the horrific and painful pages of the historical reality of the DIGNITY MAIDAN of 2014. As years go by and Ukrainian state continues to battle foreign invasion and internal political instability, we continue to rightfully demand of our own political leaders here in the United States of America and throughout the world, that strong, effective and honorable action be taken in support of Ukraine before it is too late - once again. We urge all our clergy, faithful and parish communities to be in contact with our President, Congressional Representatives and Senators, our state Governors and Legislators to stand firm in support of Ukraine, her borders and most importantly her beloved people in Ukraine and throughout the world!
The voice of people must be heard and respected and it cannot be silenced by the noise of weapons and uncertainties of those in leadership positions who choose to confuse and abuse. The use of internal confrontation and political instability will not resolve the fact of an existing external foreign invasion and the desire of the Russian bear to once again control all aspects of Ukrainian life.
We remain in solidarity with our Orthodox, Catholic and other Faith leaders in Ukraine who have proven their devotion to their flocks through their steadfast prayer and ministry to those who sat on the cold cobble-stoned Maidan two years ago. We have personally delivered material support to the hospitals caring for the wounded soldiers and the families of those murdered. Today, however, we call upon brother Hierarchs of Orthodox Churches throughout the world to utilize their God-given authority, including those in Russia itself, to call for the cessation of the attacks against the people of Ukraine! We call upon Christians of other denominations and adherents of all religious organizations around the world to urge their followers to speak up and help to avoid a cataclysm for a nation that has endured far more such cataclysms than it should have been able to endure. But, endure it did! Only by the Grace of God was Ukraine reborn over these 25 years - in spite of weak and fractured leadership at all levels - political social, ecclesiastical and more, which continues even after the Maidan. The time has come to allow her to blossom, as she has begun to - without being a threat to any of her neighbors and without abandoning millennium old international relationships.
Ukraine and her people were for a significant and vital period of time, the very epicenter of world Orthodoxy. Our people have never abandoned their incredible faith in God – the Father – our Hope, the Son – our Refuge and the Holy Spirit – our Protection. They have continually prayed also for the protection of the Mother of God, who has intervened so frequently in the history of all mankind. We, as the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America, beg for the sincere and endless prayers of all who read these words or hear them spoken. We especially appeal to those monastic communities around the world, who pray continuously for mankind to place Ukraine and her people in their hearts and minds during all their prayers.
Embracing the gift of freedom that we know with you, our spiritual children here in the United States of America and with those throughout the world, in the hope of moving forward, rather than backward in history, we beseech with awe and thanksgiving the Father of lights and every perfect gift, the Son of righteousness and the Spirit of truth to descend upon us all, embrace us, guiding and perfecting our every deed.
May God in the Holy Trinity and the beloved Mother of God, the Ever-Virgin Mary, and all the Saints and Martyrs of Ukraine hear our prayers and protect our God-loving Nation of Ukraine and grant her peace and the knowledge of Truth and Love at all times.
With prayers for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine,
Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora
Bishop of the Western Eparchy and President Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA