Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $38,705 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Ukrainian Catholic leader blasts Russian Orthodox statements, says Church is being oppressed

Catholic World News - August 22, 2014

In a letter to bishops and political leaders around the world, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said that the Catholic Church is being oppressed in eastern Ukraine.

“For nine months Ukrainians, have been on an arduous pilgrimage from post-Soviet fear to freedom and God-given dignity,” Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said in an August 21 letter. “With patience, endurance, and great human sacrifice they overcame in February the brutal regime of Viktor Yanukovych. This moral triumph was answered in March by Russia’s territorial annexation of Crimea. Now, for months the country endures foreign-supported destabilization, separatism, and terrorist activity in the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions.”

“All of the Churches and religious organizations of Ukraine stood together against the violence of the Yanukovych regime, the annexation of Crimea, and the division of the country,” he continued. “In annexed Crimea and in the eastern war zone, some of the churches and religious communities have been targeted for discrimination, enduring outright violence. In Crimea the most exposed have been the Muslim Tatars … The existence of Greek and Roman Catholics ministries, Orthodox parishes of the Kyivan Patriarchate, and the Jewish community in Crimea [have] been variously menaced.”

Listing specific incidents of anti-Catholic persecution, the Major Archbishop wrote that

Amidst the horrors of war the tiny Ukrainian Greek and Roman Catholic minority experience oppression on the territories controlled by the “separatists.” Three Catholic priests were kidnapped: Pawel Witek and Wiktor W?sowicz (Roman Catholic), Tykhon Kulbaka (Greek Catholic). The later was kept in captivity for 10 days and deprived of medicine he needed. The episcopal residence of the Greek Catholic bishop in Donetsk was robbed and sealed, depriving him of his chancery and all documentation. The Cathedral yard was hit by “separatist” rocket fire damaging the building and windows with shrapnel. The bishop and almost all Greek Catholic priests were forced to leave the environs of Donetsk. Armed representatives of separatist regime entered the church and desecrated the sanctuary. They “allowed” priests to stay and conduct services but put them on travel restrictions. Terrorists blackmail the clergy by threatening to harm their parishioners.

Most recently, on Saturday, August 16, the small monastery of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate in Donetsk was seized and violated. The sisters who generously and humbly served the community and who were on a summer retreat or at summer camps for children outside of Donetsk cannot now return to their home now being used by the “separatists.”

The Major Archbishop also criticized statements from leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church, stating that “the rhetoric of the Orthodox leadership in Russia” is “becoming increasingly similar to the propaganda of Russian political authorities and media.”

“Ukraine needs the effective support of the global Christian community and support of all people of good will,” he concluded. “In a media context rife with propaganda we ask you to evaluate information critically. We need your prayer, your discernment, your good words and effective deeds. Silence and inaction will lead to further tragedy. The fate of MA [Malaysian Airlines] Flight 17 is an example of what may happen if the terrorist activity is allowed to continue.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($126,198 to go):
$150,000.00 $23,801.70
84% 16%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Synod: It's a Wrap! 12 hours ago
A chaotic synod? Not in its results 13 hours ago
Cardinal Kasper's unsubtle threat 18 hours ago
When Catholics are less Catholic than non-Catholics October 20
Cardinal Kasper's nose is growing again October 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6