Deisis (Novogorod)

Archbishop Sviatoslav to Int'l Community: 'Stop war in Ukraine'

ugcc.org.ua - This week a ceasefire between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists came into effect but the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE) said violations to the ceasefire are already occurring.  

The conflict, which started in April 2014, has killed some 10,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes. 3.8 million people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. 

Speaking to Vatican Radio, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, said that Europe must not allow the humanitarian emergency unfolding at its heart to go unnoticed.

Those who are trapped in the so-called “grey zone” on the border of the occupied territory which has been under constant bombardment for the past three years: almost 200,000 people including many elderly people and families. According to UNICEF some 12,000 children live in this area. He said the Church is present on the territory and supported by funds raised by Pope Francis’ call for a collection that goes towards food, medicine and other basic needs. 

-    Those who are trapped in the occupied territory and who are unable to receive international humanitarian aid. The only way the Church manages to reach these people is through local priests who do their best to travel back and forth to the Ukrainian area, filling their cars with basic goods for the population that is on the brink of hunger.

-    Then there are the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, many of whom have sought refuge in central and western Ukraine. Unofficial statistics estimate over 2 million internally displaced persons. The national Caritas branch is practically alone in trying to assist these people.

Shevchuk also comments on the recent UNICEF report and its appeal for over 1 million children in need of assistance in eastern Ukraine.

“The suffering of a million children is the suffering of the innocent. This is what led me to make an appeal to the international community to do everything possible to end hostilities” he said, pointing out  that the Church must give a voice to the voiceless.

He said it is really upsetting to see how these children live and how they continue to try to go to school in shattered buildings. He pointed out that 19,000 children are in constant danger of mines and other explosive devices in the area. 

“Although children are told not to touch objects they come across, every day a child is injured because the militants leave toys that are loaded with explosives all over the ground” he said.

Shevchuk said nothing has changed since the change of the administration in the US, but unfortunately none of the agreements brokered so far have had an effect.

“We know there can be no military solution to the conflict in Ukraine that’s why I appeal to the international community to continue to push forward diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire” he said.

Archbishop Shevchuk concluded saying Pope Francis is constantly informed on the situation and that the Apostolic Nuncio travels often to the area. He said that everyone hopes and prays that perhaps the Pope himself will be able to accept a standing invitation to visit one day.


Source:Vatican radio,  Linda Bordoni

http://news.ugcc.ua/en/articles/major_abp_shevchuk_to_intl_community_stop_war_in_ukraine_78793.html


Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa