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Catholic bishop in Crimea pleads for peace, coexistence among ethnic groups

Catholic World News - March 05, 2014

“We cannot let our ethnic background or our religion divide us now,” a Catholic bishop in Crimea has said about the unfolding crisis in the Ukrainian region.

Bishop Jacek Pyl, an auxiliary of the Odessa-Simferopol diocese, pleaded with his people to “stay away from extremisms” as Russian leaders appealed for the support of ethnic Russians in the Crimean peninsula. Bishop Pyl noted that the Catholic Church, and the Crimean community generally, has enjoyed peaceful coexistence among ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Tartars, and others, as well as among Orthodox, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, and Protestants.

The bishop suggested that the faithful undertake voluntary fasting on bread and water for the cause of peace in Ukraine. He said: “We pray that the people, who for tens of years live in peace – do not start fighting today and that the bloodshed of the kind we have seen in Kiev Maidan may be avoided here.”

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