The Head of the UGCC shared the main crises Ukraine is experiencing during the war with representatives of 'Kirche in Not'

07.12.2023, 12:28
The Head of the UGCC shared the main crises Ukraine is experiencing during the war with representatives of 'Kirche in Not' - фото 1
The Head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, met with representatives of the International Catholic charitable organization 'Kirche in Not' ('Church in Need') in the Patriarchal House in Lviv on December 6.

The following individuals attended the meeting: Mr. Philip Ozores, the general secretary of the charitable organization; Ms. Magda Kachmarik, the head of the Eastern Europe section (I); Ms. Maria Lozano, head of the press service; Ms. Raquel Martinez, head of the press service for Spain; Ms. Amélie Bertelin, head of the press service for France; Ms. Fanny Rat-Ferel, responsible for fundraising for France; Ms. Kira von Bok-Ivaniuk, responsible for project communication; Ms. Alla Voitenko, administrative assistant for Eastern Europe. Also present were Father Lyubomyr Yavorsky, the patriarchal economist, and Ms. Irina Havryshkevych, the head of the Projects Department of the Patriarchal Curia.

The guests asked His Beatitude Sviatoslav to share his thoughts on how the world can effectively influence the current situation in Ukraine.

The head of the UGCC spoke about the main socio-economic, cultural, political, and educational crises that Ukraine is experiencing, enduring its second winter in a state of war.

Energy crisis
Last year, Russia destroyed up to 60% of Ukraine's electrical infrastructure. 'We are awaiting humanitarian assistance. Every Ukrainian is preparing in various ways to ensure light and warmth for themselves during the winter period. Wherever possible, we are buying generators,' noted the Head of the UGCC.

The wounds of war: a new challenge for Ukrainians
The Patriarch of the UGCC remarked that Ukrainians are exhausted from the continuous war: both soldiers and volunteers. Many people require medical rehabilitation. 'We are thinking about how to treat war injuries. The war started in 2014, and since then, part of medicine has been directed towards rehabilitation. Our soldiers need good prosthetics,' stated the Head of the UGCC.

Psychological trauma
Drawing from his own experience after enduring rocket and drone attacks, His Beatitude Sviatoslav shared that it's challenging to sleep in different buildings. 'I cannot sleep for several nights until my brain gets used to the sounds around me,' shared the Patriarch.

Healing the wounds of war
The Head of the UGCC shared the experience of UGCC clergy who have been in territories under occupation. He also mentioned that priests are facing the need to address complex questions brought into people's lives by the war due to irreparable losses, atrocities by occupiers, consequences of shelling, and health losses.

'We have a special educational program for the clergy, where we teach priests to address the complex questions brought by war - "Healing the Wounds of War,"' explained the Head of the UGCC.

'How to help the priests?' - continued the Patriarch's thought. 'We ask priests to undergo examinations by good doctors.'

'Our educational program started in September. It is a very interesting collaboration between the UGCC Commission for Pastoral Affairs and the Institute of Mental Health at the Ukrainian Catholic University. The program has three important parts: spirituality and theology, psychology, and pastoral care for people. The second part is very interesting because a priest doesn't have to be a psychologist, but he should know what to do when a person has psychological trauma. The pastor must be able to offer help. It is a very practical part. The program itself is very practical,' shared the Supreme Archbishop of the UGCC.

The Head of the UGCC shared the main crises Ukraine is experiencing during the war with representatives of 'Kirche in Not'_1

The Head of the Church also recalled the cultural, linguistic, and socio-political peculiarities of Ukraine in its different parts, emphasizing that the new time of war is opening new pages for Ukraine, yet concurrently, they continue to suffer and fight against Russian propaganda within the country.

The Patriarch stated that young people (22 years old), students of the Ukrainian Catholic University, said they cry more often at the funerals of their friends than laugh at their weddings.

'But the Good News proclaimed by Jesus Christ is decisive for Christians,' the Head of the UGCC is convinced.

He also recalled a meeting with the Mayor of Kyiv in the early months of the war when Vitali Klitschko assured him that during the humanitarian catastrophe, the capital needed more hope from the Church than bread. He also recounted events from the past weeks when a Russian drone damaged the doors of his residence in Kyiv.

Educational crisis
'We have other humanitarian crises in Ukraine - children have stopped attending school,' reported the primate of the UGCC.

The Head of the UGCC called this visit a 'therapy' and urged representatives of 'Kirche in Not' to tell the truth about Ukraine to the whole world.