Leaders of Ukraine’s Catholics have described how the Church is coming to the aid of those suffering, as growing numbers of Russian troops congregate on the border of the country.
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, outlined the various ways the country was being targeted by the Russian Federation.
Ukraine’s Byzantine Catholics leader said the ‘very dangerous escalation of military against Ukraine is only part of the full panorama of different threats and different tensions’ that are adding ‘this escalation has four dimensions.’
Major Archbishop Shevchuk also expressed that it’s an economically difficult time for people living in the country, he said: “Especially in the wintertime, we feel that Russia is using the price of gas as an economic weapon against Ukraine.”
He added that many people were unable to afford to heat their homes.
Outlining the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s response to the situation, the Major Archbishop said that the Church is organising help for those in need.
Major Archbishop Shevchuk said: “This year our goal is to heat those who are cold, to help to enable them to survive the winter.”
He added: “The parish community is the first and most important place for the people – especially meeting those in need.
Parishes have also set up food banks and clothing stores to meet the growing needs of the people.
The Church is trying to help those afflicted to survive the crisis in different ways.
Major Archbishop Shevchuk said: “We are trying to develop and foster networking of Church communities – [we must] stay together to support each other.”
In addition to the military build-up on the borders, Major Archbishop Shevchuk also said that there were political and economic escalations – not to mention a ‘war of propaganda.’
Describing what he meant by ‘political escalation,’ the prelate said that ‘Russia has declared that the goal of this escalation is to change the government.’
But he stressed that it is “economic escalation” which is causing widespread hardship.
The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church stressed the importance of prayer and how the Church was praying for an end to the escalation.
He added: “When we pray we are not afraid anymore.”
Major Archbishop Shevchuk thanked ACN for its support over many years.