Religious leaders support Ukrainian authorities in the struggle against terrorism in Donbas

KYIV – The hierarchs of Ukrainian Сhurches have issued a declaration on the importance of protecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity, maintaining its borders, and counteracting the evil and diversions being carried out by terrorists in the eastern regions of Ukraine.

This issue was discussed during a meeting by the head of the Ukrainian Parliament, Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov, with members of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, held May 22, 2014 in the conference hall of the Parliament, the Institute for Religious Freedom reported.

“We want peace, but just, so that the aggressor cannot walk on our land. A just peace must be defended. The Church blesses our military, who are defending our land. We do not need someone else’s land, but want protect our own,” Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko), Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate, noted in his speech.

Supreme Archbishop Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), the Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC), noted that the only ones who can reconcile people are religious figures such as the clergy.

“Today, we have inter-religious and inter-ethnic peace in Ukraine. There are those who would try to present the current situation differently, but today the Ukrainian Churches are united and unanimous as ever in their desire to promote civil reconciliation,” the Head of the UGCC declared.

The meeting’s participants observed a minute of silence in honor of the Ukrainian soldiers killed on that day after coming under heavy fire from terrorists in Volnovakha in Donetsk Oblast.

“If Ukraine in these trials will remain with God, the Lord will bless us with much more than we had before,” said Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, comparing the current situation in Ukraine with the biblical story of the suffering of the righteous Job.

He said that the Ukrainian nation is forming now, so it is important to unite the entire country around faith and the Creator in order to overcome all this discord and separatism.

The Bishop of the Lutheran Church, Vyacheslav Horpynchuk, expressed support for the actions of the Ukrainian authorities in the struggle against terrorism and banditry in Donbas and the protection of our country’s borders. He recalled the words of the Bible: that God’s calling to the authorities to wear the sword is not in vain, but to punish criminals and protect the people who do good.

During this meeting the heads of denominations supported the initiative hold a National Prayer on Saturday, May 24 for peace and unity in Ukraine and for the holding of fair elections, the Institute for Religious Freedom reported.

Translated by Victor Vityuk, edited by Robin Rohrback

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