Priest Working for EWTN Risks Life to Stay in Ukraine: ‘Our Life Is in God’s Hands’

‘We broadcast Masses and prayers from our chapel, and we know that people need it now,’ said Father Oleksandr Zelinskyi.

Father Oleksandr Zelinskyi is the the director general of EWTN Ukraine.
Father Oleksandr Zelinskyi is the the director general of EWTN Ukraine. (photo: Screenshot of Facebook post / Screenshot of EWTN Facebook post)

With Russia's invasion of Ukraine underway, one local priest says that he and Ukrainian Catholics are placing their trust in God.

“As Catholics, we pray to God and hope that our life is in [his] hands,” Father Oleksandr Zelinskyi, the director general of EWTN Ukraine, told CNA on Thursday. 

He called the situation very difficult.

“There is panic and fear among people,” he said. “Many are trying to leave Kyiv, where we work as an EWTN team.” You can hear a prayerful message from  in the video below.


Father Zelinskyi asked for prayers in a video posted to Facebook on Feb. 24.

Early Thursday morning, Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by launching missiles into the country. Nearly 3 million people live in the capital city of Kyiv, where videos capture blaring air raid sirens and long lines of traffic as citizens attempt to flee. Others took more immediate shelter in underground train stations.

Father Zelinskyi thought of his flock when asked if he would stay or leave.

“I plan to stay,” he said. “We broadcast Masses and prayers from our chapel, and we know that people need it now. So as long as it will be possible, I will stay here with some of our co-workers.”

EWTN Ukraine, a part of the larger EWTN network, began broadcasting in 2011, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The day is a fitting one, since EWTN Ukraine is staffed by priests from the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception. A large group of friends and volunteers also support them in their efforts with their prayers, donations and talents.

Today, they ask for prayers in a special way.

Father Zelinskyi said, “We ask for prayer and support from all of you. We need it during this dramatic situation.” 

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