Polish Catholics open doors for Ukrainian refugees


Central Europe


Ukrainian women and children cross the border from Ukraine to Poland at the Korczowa-Krakovets border crossing. Photo AFP, Janek Skarzynski

While Ukrainians flee the war and flock towards the Polish border, the Polish Catholic Church calls on Christians to open their doors for their “Ukrainian brothers and sisters”.

Stanisław Gądecki, Archbishop of Poznań, requested Christians to help war refugees from Ukraine on Sunday. According to the Polish Bishops’ Conference chairman, “the current situation requires rapid mobilisation”.

The metropolitan of Poznań appealed to all Poles for a Christian approach to refugees: “to open our homes, hostels, diocesan and parish houses, retreat houses and all places where help can be provided to the needy for sisters and brothers from Ukraine.” This is reported by the Catholic Polish news portal Deon.

“It is indeed an hour of darkness,” the Archbishop said. He also asked for fundraising in churches to help those affected by the war.


The Archbishop of Gniezno, Wojciech Polak, participated in a Greek Catholic liturgy celebrated for Ukrainians in one of the churches of Inowrocław, central Poland. There, the Archbishop sought to connect with Ukrainians. “I come to you today as your brother. I want to tell you that from the first moments of danger we are with you, we are praying with you, and for you, we are looking for ways to help you, to stop the cruelty of war and restore peace in Ukraine”, the pastor said. This is reported by Deon.

The Archbishop continued by saying that he, as a Pole, knows “the suffering of the loss of independence. How much it costs to recover and maintain it.” According to Polak, the Ukrainian people have the right to sovereignty and independence and “no one, no dictator or madman, no Russian invader has the right to take it from you.”

The Primate also emphasised that, in addition to calling for peace, he also prayed that “here, in Poland, in our archdiocese, in our towns and villages, we may now cope and welcome all those who come to us in increasing numbers, fleeing bombing and death.”

Sunday trading ban

According to Janez Lenarcic, the EU commissioner for crisis management, the expected number of displaced Ukrainians is over 7 million people. This reports Radio Liberty The escalating conflict causes tens of thousands of Ukrainians to cross the country’s western borders. According to the United Nations refugee agency, some 368,000 people have fled the country in the last four days, with most entering Poland.

Amidst the growing number of refugees, the Polish government abandoned some of its policies, such as a Sunday trading ban. Piotr Müller, a government spokesman, announced on Sunday that shops in the regions near Poland’s border with Ukraine were allowed to open. With hundreds of thousands of refugees continuing to cross the border, the law will be amended shortly to clarify the situations in which exceptions can be made to the Sunday trading ban, he promised. This was reported by the news website Notes from Poland.

Ukrainian refugees who arrived by evening train from Kiev to Warsaw are seen at a specially organized help desk for refugees at the Warszawa Wschodnia railway station in Warsaw. Photo EPA, Albert Zawada

In the current situation, there is no doubt that “with refugees leaving Ukraine, fleeing from war”, opening a shop in these provinces on a Sunday is clearly “in the greater good”, Müller continued.

Marlena Maląg, the minister for labour, families and social policy, also appealed to shops in the border provinces to open, noting that she was in touch with the chief labour inspector and noting that appropriate legal regulations will be implemented.

Humanitarian problem

On Sunday afternoon, a train with evacuees from Ukraine arrived in the Polish capital of Warsaw. The medical train initially went to the Ukrainian city of Mostyska (Lviv region) to practice evacuation of wounded persons. However, it turned out that there were thousands of refugees waiting for the opportunity to leave the war-torn country. The head of the National Hospital estimated that there was already a serious humanitarian problem in the city, Polish broadcaster TVN24 reports.

At the request of the mayor of Mostyska, a decision was made to evacuate. In total, over 600 people were evacuated.



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