From the Head of the UGCC on Day 79 of the war: Asking for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, today we especially pray for our fallen soldiers

Sunday, 15 May 2022, 11:05
We embrace all mothers and fathers, women and children, and all the families of our fallen servicemen; we offer them our prayers and support, our condolences and human warmth. His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, emphasized this in his daily address on the 79th day of Russia's war against Ukraine.

“Today is Friday, May 13, 2022, and we especially pray that Moscow end its aggression.  We pray to Our Lady of Fatima, to whom the Holy Father Francis dedicated Ukraine. Ukraine seeks the Blessed Virgin Mary’s protection. We pray that evil be overcome, as requested by the Mother of God during her apparitions at Fatima, and we believe that the power of the grace of the Holy Spirit through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary rests with our people, and gives us the strength to resist evil and continue to defend the Motherland,” stated the Head of the UGCC.

“Throughout the last day and night, intense hostilities were continuing in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine. The eastern sector of Kharkiv, and the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are on fire. Forest fires have become a huge problem in the south of our country. According to reports, more than one and a half thousand hectares of forest are burning in the Kherson region. The occupiers make it impossible to extinguish these fires, which are rapidly spreading other fires from rocket blasts, air strikes, and the war,” stated the Father and Head of the UGCC.

“The enemy is shelling the northern regions of Ukraine, which border with Russia and have recently been liberated - Chernihiv and Sumy. Targeted bombs strike schools where children are learning. The sons and daughters of our people are dying,” he added.

As a result, His Beatitude Sviatoslav reflected on a corporal work of mercy -- burying the dead.

The Archbishop explained that we Christians believe in the resurrection of the dead and that human bodies buried in the grave are like the seeds that a sower puts into the ground in anticipation of germination. Therefore, with prayer, pain, and tears, but at the same time with great reverence, we place into the earth the bodies of our deceased loved ones as we sing the song of hope: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life!”

Today the land of Ukraine, reflected the Head of the Church, is abundantly sown with the bodies of the dead. We do not know exactly how many people, including civilians, have already died in this whirlwind of war. Every time our civilian infrastructure tries to recover, when we dismantle the rubble of bombed-out buildings, the bodies of innocent dead people are found everywhere. We try to bury them respectfully and pray for their eternal rest.

“With great respect, our people receive and commit to the earth the bodies of our fallen soldiers. There is a custom, that when a coffin with the lifeless body of a heroic defender returns to a town or village - all the inhabitants of the village come out and accompany it, kneeling on both sides of the road,” he stated.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav also drew attention to the fact that the Russian invaders respect neither the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, nor their own. He recalled how at the beginning of our defensive war we tried to honor the bodies of Russian servicemen and wanted to return them to their families with honor. However, he noted that we see that the Russians refuse to honor the bodies of their fallen soldiers. And this demoralizes the Russian army.

“God, resurrect Ukraine! God, bestow Your Holy Spirit upon these lifeless bodies, which in the resurrection will testify to the truth about those who killed them, and to the truth about Ukraine, which defended life, peace, and freedom! God bless our land! God bless our people who mourn their murdered sons and daughters! O God, breathe the power of faith, hope, and love into us. Let us honor You even in the body of Your dead or lost son or daughter! God bless Ukraine, stop this war, and give our people peace!” prayed the Ukrainian spiritual leader.

The UGCC Department of Information



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