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Ukrainian Catholic leader: we must be willing to sacrifice our lives to defend the nation

Catholic World News - March 03, 2014

As Russian military forces intervened in the Ukraine’s Crimean region, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said that “we must stand up for our country” and “be ready, if necessary, to sacrifice our lives in order to protect the sovereign, free, independent, and unified state.”

“The entire world community is on the side of Ukraine, as Russia is the aggressor,” said Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, according to a report from the Religious Information Service of Ukraine. “During the last three months, the Church, especially the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, was with its people. And it will continue to remain with its people. If, God forbid, we will have to stand together on the battlefield with our soldiers, with our army, the Ukrainian Church, especially the UGCC, is ready to provide pastoral support.”

The prelate added that “every citizen of Ukraine must be prepared to defend his or her independent and sovereign state. The Church has always sought to defend peace. The Church at all costs tried to prevent bloodshed. Unfortunately, there are already victims in Ukraine, and bloodshed was not prevented.”

“At a time when our fatherland is in danger, all kinds of interfaith disputes, including property issues that may be the subject of discussion between the churches, should be put aside,” he continued. “We now need to unite and consolidate in order to protect our people and our country.”

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