The Patriarch of the UGCC thanked the priests who stayed with their flock during the most difficult times of the occupation
Bishop Joseph Milyan, assistant bishop of the Kyiv archdiocese, took part in the meeting via video link, the Infomation Department of the UGCC reports.
"It is a pleasure to see you all alive and well," His Beatitude Sviatoslav said to more than a hundred clergy at the beginning of the meeting. He thanked the priests for staying in their parishes during the most difficult time — after the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine when part of the northern regions of the Archeparchy of Kyiv was under occupation, and other regions became a place of active hostilities and a frontline zone.
The Primate of the UGCC noted that the parishes where the priest remained became centers of people's salvation and social service. But at the same time, he stressed that, in addition to humanitarian aid, people need a word of hope.
Separately, His Beatitude Sviatoslav noted the service of military chaplains, who, together with the spiritual support of Ukrainian soldiers, in the first months of the war became "capillaries through which humanitarian aid was transferred" to different parts of Ukraine.
Patriarch Sviatoslav drew attention to the fact that the period of the first months of the Great War will still be studied and therefore asked priests to be open to suggestions for documenting their experience of serving in war conditions, calling them "living history". His Beatitude Sviatoslav added that he is proud that God has given the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church such clergy.
Communicating with priests, the head of the UGCC focused his attention on the current humanitarian situation in Ukraine and asked fathers and deacons to reach out to internally displaced persons, helping them integrate into public life in new places of residence.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav drew the priests' attention to two tools of social service of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church that help the church respond quickly to the changing humanitarian situation in Ukraine-Caritas and the patriarchal Foundation "Mudra Sprava".
The first hierarch also noted that in the current situation of Russia's war against Ukraine, the Church, in addition to the humanitarian one, was also on the information front. In this context, the bishop called on priests not to stop telling the world the truth about the war and crimes of Russia in Ukraine in every possible way and in all the languages they know.
"Never get tired of communicating! Chat with your friends abroad! The word of our church is a powerful weapon. Speak up! Think what you're saying, but don't be afraid to talk!",- the head of the UGCC urged, claiming that many people in the world trust the voice of the Church.
At the end of the meeting, the Primate encouraged the priests to take care of their health and recalled that the priorities in the pastoral care of the UGCC for the next three years are to heal the wounds of war, save the most experienced and take care of families.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav personally presented each priest with the second volume of his sermons, "the word of God is living and active. Sermons and speeches. 2014–2016».