Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Finished its Third Mission as Ukrainian Peacemakers in Kosovo
Ukraine’s contingent of peacemakers in Kosovo currently consists of 180 soldiers and chaplains of different denominations. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church just finished its third mission. Military chaplain Fr. Ihor Fedoryshyn has worked for the past nine months as an officer of the Religious Affairs ministering for the Ukrainian military, which is in the international Kosovo peacekeeping force KFOR.
“There is a need for a chaplain in the army and especially among peacemakers. In situations of limited space, such as a closed military base, and long isolation from home, people often have family and personal problems and nobody to talk to. A chaplain, consequently, also acts a psychologist,” says Fr. Ihor.
In Ukraine pastoral care of soldiers is carried out within the limits of the current legislation, but so far without the official status of military chaplains. Since April 2009, however, the Council on Matters of Pastoral Care, with the participation of representatives of seven confessions, works as part the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. This year the council began its preparation for the project Concept of Pastoral Care for the Military Forces of Ukraine.
Chaplains in the army celebrate divine services, perform baptisms, hear confessions, and give spiritual care to the military personnel and members of their families, and also organize the celebration of church holidays and revive churches on military territory.