Shevchuk declared that the Soviet Union fell and that the church had been reborn. It emerged from the catacombs. It was my first experience as a priest. It was an amazing Easter experience. We are followers of priests who were in prison for years and have the signs of their church on our flesh.
The role and contribution of the Greek Catholic church in this conflict
The leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church had spoken out in support of the so-called Revolution of Dignity in 2014. He has always supported the people’s desire for more democracy, closer integration with the European Union.
Shevchuk reaffirmed, “We have always stood up for our people, no matter what the circumstances.” This is still the case today.”
The claim that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Faith Church is nationalist was also dismissed by the archbishop.
Shevchuk declared that there is no Ukrainian Church for Ukrainians.
“The Ukrainian Greek Catholic church cannot be accused nationalist because there are many Ukrainian-Chinese Catholics in Vancouver and many other parishioners not of Ukrainian origin in Canada, Brazil or Argentina.”
Shevchuk also stated that Kyiv’s cathedral became a refuge during the current war.
“No one has ever asked you ‘what language you speak’ or ‘which church do you attend?’ We welcomed all who needed it and provided food, medicine, and did everything we could to save lives. This is our identity. Although we consider the Church of Constantinople to be the mother Church, we are still in full communion with Peter’s successor and live this mentality.
Shevchuk stated, “All those who claim that Ukraine must not be Nazified somehow” because of its extensive history. It is not possible for the Ukrainian people to have an ethnic heritage.
According to this view, the Ukrainian prelate said that Russia should “educate or eliminate these’slightly less developed Russians’.” This is the result of a genocidal ideology.
The ecumenical influence
Over 25 years, the Pan-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations of Ukraine brought together all Ukrainian religious denominations and is now an authoritative voice.
Shevchuk claimed that the institution had become an important moral authority and that, “since the war brokeout, our council has proven to be a very effective body for meeting new problems.”
There are many new initiatives. One is the appeal to intellectual centres worldwide to study and respond Russky Mir. This ideology of the ” Russian universe” is one of the most recent.
Shevchuk says that “this ideology was born in the OrthodoxPatriarchate Moscow and we are witnessing it through the latest patriarch’s sermons.” It is an ideology that causes death and destruction in Ukraine, as I have witnessed.
The council has made many appeals to the Russian government to stop the war. We wrote to the Russian churchmen and religious leaders asking them to make every effort to end this war. We wrote to the Belarusian government to tell them not to join this war. It is a service that we perform in the name of God’s common good. Our love for our fellow Christians has enabled us to overcome many divisions between our churches.
The representative of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church, which falls under the Moscow Patriarchate accepted the letter.
What does the future look like for Ukraine? How can trust be restored between Russia and Ukraine across borders? Between people living side-by or together?
Shevchuk considers this “an open question.” He addressed the issue in his daily video messages. He also outlined his views regarding the design of the nation after the war on the basis of Catholic social teaching.
The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church stated that healing today means first and foremost rebuilding the trust of the Ukrainian people in democratic values.
“We, the people, want to rebuild democracy’s values. We also have to confront the immense challenge of rebuilding human relations and social relationships. This is why we must address international relations and how to heal the scars from the war between Russians & Ukrainians.
He continued, “We seek to find answers. This is going to be a long journey of reconciliation. It is understandable that there are conditions for reconciliation. The Ukrainian population is vulnerable to forced reconciliation or external impositions of peace. This is not peace. It’s just the destruction by a larger state.
Conditions of peace
According to the archbishop major, the Russian people should realize that Ukraine exists and admit that the Ukrainian state has the right to resist. They must also accept the fact that the Ukrainian people have their language, culture, and history.
Shevchuk stated that “We have the right of existence while preserving our identity, as a political non-exclusive, inclusive nation. As seen by the fact Jewish communities declare themselves Ukrainian citizens (our President is of Jewish origin), and the head Civil Administration and Mykolaiv’s Military is a Korean, The Famous Kim.”
He concluded that Russia must acknowledge the existence of Ukraine. Russia, on the contrary, can speak to Ukraine using the language of ultimatums. There will be no peace process.
“We must seek justice. Without justice, there is no peace.” It is essential that we uncover the entire truth, even if it seems crude. This includes the Russian violence in the Ukraine martyr cities. Truth-based justice is a step in the right direction for future reconciliation even with these recent events.
Shevchuk says that we must not reconcile geopolitical ideologies or views, or any proposed formulas of illusory peace. We need to reconcile hearts and minds. And we all know that reconciliation requires spiritual and moral work.
“It is a very long-lasting work, and we don’t know how long it will take.
In closing, the Major Archbishop, Greek Catholic Church, expressed his optimism despite all.
“I have hope. My hope isn’t a deceitful or a way to escape from a horrible reality. It is a trust in God. If we don’t know what is going to happen, we can call on God’s strength, which is Wisdom itself, which is the strongest. If we don’t know how we will be living in two or three years, it is important not to get too upset. God and not man are the masters of time and space. Living with hope in God is the only way to live hope.
He concluded, “The world without God will die.” A world that rejects God is prone to diseases and wars. This is why we have to bring God back into the world.
Andrea Gagliarducci works as an Italian journalist at Catholic News Agency. He is also a Vatican analyst at ACI Stampa. He is also a contributor to The National Catholic Register.