Shevchuk stated that “our church was reborn” after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It emerged from the catacombs. As a young priest, I witnessed the resurrection of my church. It was an unforgettable Easter experience. We are the disciples of priests who spent many years in prison and have carried the signs for their church on our flesh.
The role played by the Greek Catholic Church during this war
Leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church had publicly supported the ” Revolution of Dignity” in 2014. He also supported the people’s demand for more democracy and closer ties to the European Union.
Shevchuk repeated his assertion, “We, like I said, have always stood behind our people, regardless of the circumstances.” This is still true today.
According to the major archbishop, the claim that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church was nationalist is also pure propaganda from the Kremlin.
Shevchuk stated that “We aren’t a Ukrainian Church that’s only for Ukrainians.”
“The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church can not be accused of nationalism, because we have Ukrainian Greek Catholics from Chinese descent in Vancouver today, and we have many parishioners in Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Australia who are not of Ukrainian heritage.”
Shevchuk said that Kyiv’s cathedral was a refuge for all during the current conflict.
“No one ever asked me if I speak a language or which church I attend. We were open to all, providing food, medicine and anything else that could be done to help save lives. This is our identity. We are an Eastern Church of Byzantine Tradition, which views the Church of Constantinople the mother Church. However, it remains in full communion and lives this mentality.
Shevchuk stated that because of the extensive history that preceded it, all those who insist that Ukraine should be de-Nazified somehow are proving that the Ukrainian people don’t exist. The Ukrainian people don’t have an ethnic origin.”
The Ukrainian prelate stated that Russia should educate or eliminate these “slightly underdeveloped Russians.” This war and the propaganda that fuels it are the result of a genocidal ideology.
The ecumenical effect
The Pan-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations of Ukraine, which has been around for more than 25 years, has become an authoritative voice.
Shevchuk stated that the institution was an indispensable moral authority, and that the council had been “very efficient in meeting new challenges since the war broke out.”
The latest initiative is to appeal to intellectual centers around the world to respond to Russky Mir the ideology of ” Russian World”.
Shevchuk claims that this ideology was created within the Orthodox patriarchate of Moscow. We are now witnessing it in the sermons of the most recent patriarch. I personally witnessed it bringing destruction and death to Ukraine.
The council made numerous appeals to end the war. “We sent a letter to Russian religious leaders and churchmen asking them to do all they can to end this war. We wrote to the Belarusian population to stop them from entering this war. We do it in the name and service of the common good. This love for our people has helped us overcome many conflicts between our churches.
The letter was signed by the representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox church, which is located under the Moscow patriarchate.
What is the future for Ukraine? How can we rebuild trust between Russia, Ukraine, and people who live side-by side or together?
Shevchuk says that this is “an open problem.” He has discussed the matter in his daily video messages and shared his views about designing a nation after war, which are based on Catholic social teaching.
According to the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, healing is now about “rebuilding trust in democratic values”
“We as a nation want to restore the democratic values. However, it is also necessary to address the enormous challenge of rebuilding social and human relationships. The topic of international relations is not only about how to rebuild human and social relationships after the conflict between the Russians and Ukrainians.
He said, “We seek answers.” This will be a long and difficult process of reconciliation, we believe. There are also conditions that can be met to achieve reconciliation. The Ukrainian population is open to being forced or impelled into peace. This is not peace. This is not peace.
Conditions for Peace
The major archbishop stated that “the Russian people must accept that Ukraine exists, allow the Ukrainian state to resist, and be open to the fact that the Ukrainian people have their culture, history, and language.”
Shevchuk said: “We have to exist while preserving the identity as a politically, non-exclusive but inclusive nation. This is evident by the fact that Jewish communities declare themselves Ukrainian citizens (our president, who is Jewish), and the head civil administration and Mykolaiv’s military, the famous Kim.”
He said that Russia must accept the reality of Ukraine’s existence. There can’t be peace if Russia talks to Ukraine in the language that is used for ultimatums.
“We must then seek justice, because there is no genuine peace without justice. Even if the truth is not perfect, we must find the whole truth. I also refer to the violence perpetrated by Russia in the Ukrainian martyr cities. Truth-based justice can be a step toward future reconciliation, even in the most recent events.
Shevchuk stated that “We cannot reconcile geopolitical views or ideas or propose formulas for an illusory peaceful peace.” We must instead reconcile hearts, minds, and people. This requires ongoing spiritual and moral work.
“It’s a work that will last a long while, and we can’t predict how long it will take for hearts to heal.”
The Major Archbishop for the Greek Catholic Church was optimistic, in spite of everything.
“I believe in hope. My hope is not a falsehood or an escape from a harsh reality. It is a faith in the Lord. We can draw on the strength and wisdom of God when we don’t know what the future holds for us. We should not get too excited if we don’t know what our lives will look like in the next two to three months. God, not man, is the master of space and time. We can live with hope if we believe in God.
He concluded that “the world without God is doomed for death.” In a world that rejects God, illnesses and wars are obvious signs of death. We must return God to this world.
Andrea Gagliarducci, an Italian journalist working for Catholic News Agency, is a Vatican analyst for ACI Stampa. He contributes to the National Catholic Register.