Ukrainian religious leaders call for continued fight against Russia
Ukrainian Church leaders have urged citizens to continue their fight against the Russian invasion, as the Pope condemned the war in some of his strongest words yet amid growing evidence of atrocities being committed against civilians by the forces of President Vladimir Putin.
“Ukraine shows the whole world that there are certain values – love of country, love of neighbor – for which it is worth giving one’s life: one feels more and more that the struggle of Ukraine is a spiritual struggle against evil, against the devil and his minions,” said Major Archbishop Svetoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, whose Greek Catholic Church combines the Eastern Rite with loyalty to Rome.
“If the enemy kills us and sows death, let us serve life and honor human life. If we see the enemy robbing Ukrainians, robbing and looting, let us be generous benefactors, supporting those in need of Christian charity.
He said it was essential that the world “see and hear” the “horrible war crimes” committed by the invading troops, which recalled scenes from the Nazi occupation during World War II.
However, he warned that the rest of Ukraine was “still shaking off Russian bombs and missiles”, particularly around Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, Mariupol and Odessa, and promised that the Ukrainians would continue “to gain strange strength internally to defend their homeland.
Meanwhile, the head of the Independent Orthodox Church of Ukraine called the massacres of civilians a “sign of genocide” and warned that the “victory of tyranny” over his country “would become a new circle of hell on Earth”.
“The whole world now sees what we have known for a long time: the enemy does not only wish to achieve certain officially declared objectives, however absurd and false they may be – the enemy has come to our land to erase the very identity of the people Ukrainian, to -Ukrainianize Ukraine,” Metropolitan Epiphany Dumenko said at the Monday funeral in Kyiv of slain photographer and filmmaker Maksym Levin. “Yet the victory already won by the Ukrainian people is getting closer every day – a moral and military victory.”
On Monday, US President Joe Biden again condemned President Putin as a war criminal and pledged to continue arms shipments to Ukraine, amid global outrage over the discovery of mass graves and of bodies lying in the streets of Bucha.
Meanwhile, the European Commission said it was preparing new sanctions against Russia, with France and Germany expelled dozens of Russian diplomats in response to the atrocities.
Speaking during his brief visit to Malta, the pope described the conflict as a “sacrilegious war” and told government officials and civil society groups on Saturday that Europeans had believed that “invasions from other countries , savage street fights and atomic threats” were only “dark”. memories of a distant past.
“The icy winds of war, which bring only death, destruction and hatred in their wake, have now powerfully swept away the lives of many people and touched us all,” the pontiff added.
“Once again, a potentate, unfortunately caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interests, provokes and foments conflicts, while ordinary mortals feel the need to build a shared future or not at all. Now, in the night of war that is descending on humanity, let us not let the dream of peace fade away.
In a television interview on Monday, the head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, Andrij Jermak, welcomed the pontiff’s revelation to reporters that he plans to visit both Kyiv and neighboring Poland, after receiving new official invitations in both countries, and said a wartime papal visit to Ukraine would be “historic and very significant.”
Meanwhile, Vatican nuncio Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas said Kyiv was still shelled and shelled as all efforts to end the war had failed, adding that hospital officials in the capital had confirmed that children were deliberately targeted by Russian snipers. However, the pope had repeatedly pledged to “do everything to help stop the war,” Archbishop Kulbokas said, so “every possibility” remained open.
Preaching at the new military cathedral in Moscow on Sunday, Kirill urged Russians to pray to “multiply the power of the armed forces”, and urged military personnel to stand ready to lay down their lives “as witnessed by the word of God”. .
In a birthday message on Saturday, Kirill praised the “courageous, selfless and responsible” work of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, adding that his forces, which were currently blockading and bombarding Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, “invariably showed valor and courage in defending the interests of the Fatherland”.