Catholic Leader: Pray for Peace in Ukraine Before Russian Orthodox Cathedrals Worldwide

In his video message, Archbishop Shevchuk praised the unity among Ukrainians following the full-scale Russian invasion on Feb. 24.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, a cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.
Holy Trinity Cathedral, a cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. (photo: RonAlmog / (CC BY 2.0))

A Ukrainian Catholic leader urged people on Wednesday to “pray before the cathedrals of the Russian Orthodox Church throughout the world for peace in Ukraine.”

In a video message issued on March 23, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk praised a recent interfaith gathering outside a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Jerusalem.

Archbishop Shevchuk, who is based in Kyiv, the embattled capital of Ukraine, said: “Jerusalem and Kyiv feel a spiritual relation. Kyiv was built as a new Jerusalem. May this prayer, this movement against war, spread to other centers of religious and spiritual life throughout the world.”

“Let us pray together. Let us pray before the cathedrals of the Russian Orthodox Church throughout the world for peace in Ukraine. We shall see that the Lord God will hear our prayers and this war will be won.”

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church offered “special thanks” to participants in an interreligious meeting on March 21 in front of Holy Trinity Cathedral, located in the Russian Compound in central Jerusalem. 

The event, organized by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development and the Elijah Interfaith Institute, was attended by the Latin Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa and other local religious leaders.

After a series of speeches, a letter addressed to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, was taped to the cathedral walls.

The letter, signed by 150 religious figures, said: “In light of your close connection to President Vladimir Putin, we call on you to request that he take immediate steps to de-escalate the conflict, and seek a peaceful resolution to it.”

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk records a video message on March 23, 2022. ugcc.ua.

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk records a video message on March 23, 2022. ugcc.ua.

In his video message, Archbishop Shevchuk praised the unity among Ukrainians following the full-scale Russian invasion on Feb. 24. 

“We see how the people unite to defeat the enemy who is trampling upon Ukrainian soil,” he said. 

“We see that everyone feels the mandate of their own conscience in order to persevere and be victorious.”

“We feel that, indeed, this war is not a war in which only the Ukrainian army is fighting. This is not a war waged by the enemy against the president or the Ukrainian government for one or another ideologically contrived motive.” 

“The Russian aggressor is waging war against the Ukrainian people. And this war has all the hallmarks of genocide, the extermination of people, our cultural heritage, our spiritual tradition.”

For the second time this month, the 51-year-old major archbishop referred to successful Ukrainian resistance against much larger Russian forces as the “Miracle on the Dnipro.”

The Dnipro, or Dnieper, is a river that runs from north to south through the center of Ukraine and into the Black Sea.

“It is very important that everyone, each one of us, everyone who hears me join in this holy and great cause,” he said.

“That ‘Miracle on the Dnipro,’ which is unfolding before our very eyes, is turning out to be a kind of matter, a work blessed by God. We fight and do battle for victory, but this victory is given to us by our Lord God.”

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