Ukrainian servicemen need more than half a thousand chaplains
"It requires 0.15% of the total number of military personnel. The Armed Forces, which comprises 250 thousand people requires 375 chaplains, the National Guard, which has 50 thousand people – 75 chaplains, and also the State Border Guard Service with 50 thousand people needs 75 chaplains”, notes Fr Kostyantyn.
The chaplain notes that the number of military priests is constantly changing.
“We have two figures. Those who hold offices in the army – their number always changes, because some come, others leave. There are about 120 people in total. And there is another figure – those who were in the war, who can make a choice between military service and parish life. These are 600 people who have been rotated,” the priest said.
As RISU has reported, as of the beginning of December, the Army officially employed 102 chaplains belonging to different faiths: the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the Ukrainian Evangelical Church, the Church of Christians of the Evangelical Faith "Tabernacle".
In 2020, a survey was conducted among the military regarding their attitude to religion. Thus, 79% of the personnel reported that they consider themselves religious people.
The law "On Military Chaplaincy" was adopted on November 30, and along with it, the status of military chaplains as military personnel is fixed was regulated, their functional duties and requirements were defined.
The history of pastoral service in the Ukrainian army dates back to the service of chaplains in the legion of Ukrainian sich Riflemen, the Galician Army, the UPR Army and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, even in the conditions of the guerrilla war waged by the UPA.
In 2014, with the beginning of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, priests of Ukrainian denominations went as chaplains to various units to be together with the soldiers on the front line. A new stage in the history of Ukrainian chaplaincy has begun.
Military chaplains do not receive weapons and ammunition, they are not involved in duties, outfits, conducting official investigations and other actions that are incompatible with their official duties and the status of a clergyman. They are solely responsible for meeting the spiritual and religious needs of their personnel.