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Pope prays for reconciliation between Poles, Ukrainians after Volhynia massacres

July 15, 2013

During his Angelus audience on July 14—which he held as the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo—Pope Francis recalled the World Ward II massacres in Volhynia, and prayed for reconciliation in Ukraine and Poland.

In June the Catholic bishops of Poland and Ukraine joined in a statement calling for mutual forgiveness on the 70th anniversary of the Volhynia massacres. Tens of thousands of Poles were slaughtered by Ukrainian nationalists in the Volhynia region in July 1943, and tens of thousands of Ukrainians were then killed in Polish reprisals.

“Those actions, provoked by nationalist ideology in the tragic context of the Second World War, claimed tens of thousands of victims and damaged the fraternity between the two peoples, the Polish and the Ukrainian,” the Pope said. “I entrust to the mercy of God the souls of the victims and, for their people, I ask the grace of profound reconciliation and of a peaceful future in hope and in sincere collaboration in building together the Kingdom of God.”


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