Polish and Ukrainian churches appeal for peace amid Russia tensions

Church leaders in Poland and Ukraine have issued a joint appeal for dialogue and understanding – and international support for the Ukrainian people – amid growing military tension with Russia.

“In the end, war is always a defeat for mankind,” write the hierarchs, quoted by Belsat. “It is an expression of barbarity and an infective tool for resolving disputes….[as well as] a crime against God and man himself.”

“We appeal to rulers to refrain from hostilities,” they continue. “The present situation requires Christians of eastern and western traditions to be fully responsible for the present and future of our continent.”

The letter is signed by the heads of Poland’s Roman Catholic episcopate, Stanisław Gądecki, and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, as well as by Eugeniusz Popowicz, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic hierarch in Poland, and Mieczysław Mokrzycki, president of the Roman Catholic episcopate in Ukraine.

While appealing for peace, the bishops leave no doubt that they see Russia as responsible for the situation.

“The occupation of Donbass and Crimea has proven that the Russian Federation – while violating the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine – disregards the binding rules of international law,” they write. “[This] situation is a great threat for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.”

The hierarchs then call on  the “international community…to actively support the threatened society in all possible ways”.

Meanwhile, Gądecki today declared that this Wednesday, 26 January, would be a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine in Poland’s Catholic church.

Main image credit: EpiskopatNews/Flickr (under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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