All Ukrainian churches worried about war and peace

16-02-2022

Eastern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

Screenshot Baptyst.com

All the main churches of Ukraine are speaking about the danger of war. They call for prayers for peace. All over the world, there is talk about a nearing invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC, Moscow Patriarchate) does not expect war. The church has been silent amid all the recent rumours, Religion in Ukraine reports. Hierarchs of this church spread the message: there is no need to panic. One of the bishops, Metropolitan Pavlo, even said from the pulpit on January 30th: There will be no war. Only “enemies of our country” would think otherwise.

Despite all this, members of the UOC are still preparing for war, like searching for safe places and sharing maps of bomb shelters.

Kyiv: People of good will

The other Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) is calling for prayers. The leader of the Kyiv-Ukrainian church, Metropolitan Epiphanius, released a sermon on Tuesday in which he prayed for peace. “Together with our brothers and sisters in all corners of Ukraine and abroad, together with people of good will around the world, we now pray for the victory of truth and just peace for Ukraine, for stopping the aggressor’s intentions, for protection for our country and especially – for our soldiers who are now defending their homeland. God the Great, the One, save Ukraine for us!”

Protestants: Prayer and fasting

The Protestants in the country go further and ask the members for “intensified prayer and fasting”, according to Baptyst.com. According to Valery Antonyuk, head of the Evangelical Christian Baptists (ECB), the escalation of the conflict has gone high, and the “invasion of the aggressor’s troops on the territory of Ukraine is probable.” In a video message, he prays that the “Lord of Hosts will bless Ukraine and that the plans of the devil and his servants will be broken.”

Catholics: Was sovereignty a joke?

The leader of the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), Supreme Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, approached the topic from a different corner. In a sermon, according to his offical website, he reminded of God’s work in the sovereignty of Ukraine. “We know it was God’s work. And we ask ourselves today: God, was that Your joke? Did you just seduce us with the smell of that freedom? And now, do you want to take it away? (…) Today we pray to You, God: despite our sins or our merits, but as You preached freedom to us 35 years ago, gave it 30 years ago, keep it for us today. Protect Ukraine, protect our people.”

In the past weeks, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk has been in close contact with Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome, whose authority the UGCC recognises. The Pope said in Rome that the situation in Ukraine was “very disturbing”. He appealed to “the conscience of political leaders” and hoped for the “intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary”, he said, according to Religion in Ukraine.

In Istanbul, the ‘father’ of the Orthodox churches, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, called for “fervent prayer” for peace in Ukraine. “The possibility of a new war in Europe as a result of the escalation of violent rhetoric and the militarisation of the Russian-Ukrainian border should be unconditionally opposed. We call for lasting peace, stability and justice in the region. Peace is a matter of choice”, he said according to Religion in Ukraine.

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