Ukraine launches chaplain training


Eastern Europe


Military chaplain Father Oleksandr blesses a serviceman of the National Guard of Ukraine on their position in the north of Kharkiv region. Photo AFP, Sergey Bobok

Ukraine's most prestigious university launches a new training program for military chaplains. The course is the result of cooperation between the Ukrainian State and various churches.

Everyone appointed to the position of chaplain in the Armed Forces of Ukraine will undergo a special training course that will last six weeks and take place at the Military Institute of the Kyiv National University. The launch was a historical event, according to those present.

"Five years ago, no one would have thought that the Church and the state would jointly develop a certain concept that would serve the good of the country, the military and their families", Pavlo Honcharuk, the Roman Catholic bishop of the Kharkiv-Zaporizka Diocese said at the launch of the first course which had 30 participants. This reports the Ukrianian portal InVictory.

The Ukrainian parliament recently adopted a law introducing the chaplain position in the Ukrainian army. Chaplains are ranked officers now. Before the legislation, chaplaincy service was not regulated. The only official basis on which priests could legally serve within the military was a decree from 2014.

At the program's launch, representatives of various religious organisations made welcoming speeches, reports the Religious Information Service of Ukraine.


According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, chaplains are crucial to the military. He said so in a meeting with several chaplains on Friday. "I thank you for your service, for being with the fighters in this year of full-scale war. I am glad we have a corresponding law, but in my opinion, the most important thing is that we have you." This reports the Ukrianian Institute of Religion and Policy.

The chaplains, for their part, thanked the head of the Ukrainian State for supporting the introduction and development of their service in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. "Our goal is to lend a shoulder and be there. We are at the front to show that we are with those who are fighting. And God will not leave. It helps people and inspires them. And when the spirit is strong, the person creates a miracle. With God, we will win."



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