"We are here to assure you that we stand with you," - Polish bishops
At a morning press briefing at the Curia of the Archdiocese of Lviv, RCC, Archbishop Stanislav Gondetsky thanked for the invitation to Ukraine, which they received from both Lviv and Kyiv, and stressed that the visit to Ukraine is of great importance for them.
"If before the war relations were limited to visits by individual groups of people, then with the war the situation has changed and among European peoples poles most want to honor Ukraine and help it prayerfully and financially," said the chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference.
According to Archbishop Wojciech Polyak, the Primate of Poland, the purpose of their visit to Ukraine is to show solidarity and unity with all those who in Ukraine suffer from the war, from Russian aggression. "By doing so, we want to assure you of our prayers for Ukraine. We strive to be with you now and always," he said.
Archbishop Stanislav Budzik noted that this visit is not a tourist trip or an excursion, but a need to express solidarity and support through personal presence. This presence, he said, should also help them understand what else the Polish Catholic Church can do to help Ukraine.
While in Lviv, a delegation of Polish bishops met with Metropolitan Igor Wozniak of Lviv, UGCC. The bishops visited the arch-Cathedral of St. George, the Crypt of the cathedral and the metropolitan chambers of the Svyatoyursky complex.
"Bishops from Poland came to us to express their solidarity and prayerful support. We thank them for their closeness, help, openness and presence. Archbishop Budzik said that thanks to Ukraine, there is no war in Poland. They understand this, help Ukraine and want Ukraine to win. We are not military analysts, we do not know when the war will end, but we are aware that the tragedy of Ukraine has brought our peoples closer together. Being together, it is always easier to resist the enemy," Metropolitan Igor said in a comment for the UGCC Information Department.
Father Stefan Batrukh, who accompanies the delegation, is convinced that the events of the past help to better understand what the current war is leading to. In a comment for Live TV, he recalled how 35 years ago the late John Paul II encouraged representatives of the episcopate of Poland and the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC to meet and cooperate.
"The bishops of Poland came to thank the Ukrainians for their endurance and courage, especially the Ukrainian military. This is an exchange of gifts. The Roman Catholic Church in Poland can help financially, but it receives a lot from Ukraine spiritually. First of all, defense against Russia's offensive on Poland. He also learns the endurance, wisdom and courage that Ukraine presents," Fr Stefan Batrukh said.
As part of the solidarity visit, the Polish bishops will visit Lviv and Kyiv, where on May 19 they will meet with the head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Bishop of the Diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr Vitaliy Kryvytsky of the RCC and the Primate of the OCU, His Beatitude Epifaniy. The delegation will visit St. Sophia Cathedral and the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ of the UGCC. A trip to Irpen and Bucha is also planned.