"A military chaplain ‒ is a sign of God's presence in inhuman conditions," His Beatitude Sviatoslav to UGCC military chaplains

Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 17:40
On Monday, December 11, in Kyiv, with a Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral began the ХІth  Convention of military chaplains. It's aim is to improve ministry to military personnel and their families at this uneasy time for our state. 
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 During three days, a hundred of military chaplains, who were in the ATO zone, under the lead of Bishop Mikhail (Koltun), who is the Head of Department of Military Chaplaincy, will exchange their experience and try to find answers to the challenges they are facing now. 

At the beginning, the Father and Head of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav in his homily emphasized that all of us "have to persistently attain our aim ‒ to secure and protect peaceful sky and peaceful way of living."

"It is interesting that in today's Gospel (Lk 19, 37-44.‒ edit.) Jesus Christ tells us a very deep phrase which we often forget: 'Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace!' To know the things that make for peace means to understand the time of God's visit. What kind of visit is this? This is a moment when the Almighty comes to see His people, it's the manifestation of God's presence among the people. God is a source of peace and the fact that people don't understand, don't see and don't want God's presence, leads to destruction," said the Primate.

"A military chaplain ‒ is a sign of God's presence in inhuman conditions. Our mission ‒ is to witness the fact that God comes to see His people, and also to show Ukraine the road to peace. If our people fail to find it, Christ will  weep over us like He wept over Jerusalem!" observed the Head of the UGCC.

"We are to show God present among our soldiers so that they would not miss the time of God's presence!" underlined the Head of the Church the importance of the mission of a military chaplain.

Fr Lubomyr Yavorsky, Deputy Head of the Department of Military Chaplaincy, said that this meeting is special because it's the first one where 32 chaplains, who are officially employed in military parts, are present. The aim of the event ‒ is to reassess the ministry of military chaplains, evaluate their work this year in order to improve it. 

"At this Convention we, military chaplains, will listen about how the ministry is performed in the three structures: the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard and the State Border Service of Ukraine. Besides, we are going to discuss the historical perspective of military chaplaincy, its identity and the character of relations between the Church and the State.  We are also going to look at the interconfessional environment, where a chaplain is called to serve," observed Fr. Lubomyr Yavorsky. 

Also, the spiritual leaders will speak about peculiarities of social ministry, especially to the families of perished soldiers, and also about the nuances of interconfessional ministry which foundation is such: "Chaplaincy in multi -confessional environment: Care about everyone, help others, serve to ours." In the frames of such discussions, on the last day of the meeting, one representative from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate, Roman Catholic Church and Protestants (Pentecostals and Baptists), will attend the event to speak about the peculiar features of their denominations.

At the event are also present representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the General Staff, the National Guard and the State Border Service of Ukraine, who helped in organization of the Convention, too. 

We would like to remind you that Greek Catholic chaplains were among the first who supported our military forces in 2014. At the moment, there are 161 military chaplains in the UGCC, and since the beginning of the ATO, our Church has made over 600 rotations.

 

The UGCC Department of Information

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