The wounds of Ukrainian society, elections, reforms, war, ecumenism: the Head of the UGCC held a round table discussion on contemporary Ukraine in Rome

Thursday, 28 February 2019, 12:59
On February 26, at the "Residence of Pope Paul VI" near the Vatican, His Beatitude Sviatoslav held a round table entitled "Ukraine today: the role of the UGCC in transforming Ukrainian society."
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At the meeting with the Head of the UGCC came representatives of various dicasteries of the Vatican Curia, the diplomatic corps accredited to the Apostolic Capital, academic circles of the Papal Universities in Rome and leading Vaticanists of various editions.

In his analysis of the current situation in Ukraine, Patriarch Sviatoslav invited the participants of the round table to "look at Ukraine not as a problem, but as a solution to many problems, including those of international significance." The Head of the UGCC first of all emphasized that "the Ukrainian people are deeply wounded". He believes there are a lot of such wounds on the body of the Ukrainian nation. "First of all, it is the wounds of communism. We are a country that is experiencing a period of transition from post-Soviet society to genuine democracy," said the Head of the UGCC. In this context, he pointed to the problem of corruption generated by the oligarchic system, "it is against this corruption that the well-known Revolution of Dignity took place in Ukraine."

His Beatitude Sviatoslav drew the attention of those present to the fact that in search of moral benchmarks for the Ukrainian society, the most trustworthy institution is the Church itself. In the message "Our Holy Sofia," the UGCC offers a model where the Church is an example for building a society, and its social doctrine is the basis of human relations.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav also spoke about the initiative in the UGCC regarding the Year of Prayer for honest and just elections in Ukraine, as well as the Synodal Memorial for the Christian voter for awareness of responsibility for his own voice and the Decalogue for a Christian politician. "As a Church, we appealed to our faithful and candidates for presidential and parliamentary elections, warning them against the danger of populism, the use of violence and the sale and purchase of votes," the Bishop said.

Another "mental and physical trauma of the Ukrainian people" is the war in the East of Ukraine. His Beatitude Sviatoslav told the international community about the physical, spiritual and psychological consequences of Russian aggression, pointing out the special role of the Church in healing these wounds: "Christian communities, in cooperation with state structures, are becoming real rehab centers for those who experience post-traumatic war syndrome."

"As an integral part of civil society, we have supported important reforms in the medical, educational spheres, and also managed to introduce chaplaincy in the military sphere," said the Head of the UGCC.

Speaking about the religious and ecumenical situation in Ukraine, His Beatitude Sviatoslav spoke about events regarding the unification of Ukrainian Orthodoxy: "The discussion between Moscow and Constantinople is an internal affair of the Orthodox world, we are not party to this process, but I can say with certainty that the faithful of different denominations, including Greek Catholics, took Patriarch Bartholomew's gesture as parental care for those who had already been nominated for hell as non-canonical." He stressed that "there are serious attempts to provoke a religious war in Ukraine."

Speaking about the ecumenical movement, Patriarch Sviatoslav recalled the words of St. Pope John Paul II that "Ukraine is a laboratory of ecumenism and the ecumenical movement for us is not a political but pastoral issue." "I am convinced that the UGCC, which has a local and global dimension due to its unity with the Ecumenical Church, has a special ecumenical mission in Ukraine, but at the same time it is called to open up our local church reality to the world," said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

A separate topic of the meeting with representatives of the international community was the theme of the war in Ukraine. In his speech, His Beatitude Sviatoslav denied the disinformation of Russian propaganda about the fact that civil war is taking place in Ukraine as a result of the conflict between Ukrainian and Russian-speaking citizens. "This is a war between two projects: between the efforts of the Ukrainian people to build a genuine democratic country and an external project on the return of Ukraine to the totalitarian regime of the Soviet Union. In my opinion, the war in Ukraine is the last imperialist war in Europe and the future of European civilization depends on its consequences."

He also appealed to the audience with a request for solidarity with Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.

The Secretariat of the Head of the UGCC in Rome



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