Ukraine in Flames: Religions take stands and sides in the war

Russian invaders destroyed at least 59 buildings of spiritual significance in 8 regions of Ukraine, as the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine informs. On average, two religious buildings a day have been destroyed since February 24.

These include an orthodox cathedral in Mariupol, a Jewish school in Kharkiv and dozens of parish churches destroyed throughout Ukraine.

On March 7 alone, three monuments of Ukrainian culture were partially or completely destroyed: the Yelets Assumption Monastery in Chernihiv (1069), St. George’s Church in Zavorichi, Kyiv Oblast, (1873), and a 160-year-old wooden Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in Vyazivka, Zhytomyr Oblast. All three churches are parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate which is the dominant denomination in the Russian Federation. The Russian soldiers kidnap the pro-Ukrainian clergy. A priest of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (Metropolitan Epiphanius) Serhiy Chudynovych was arrested in Kherson. The Ukrainian clergy of various religions and denominations responded with a united support for Ukrainian statehood. Priests of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Protestant pastors, and Muslim imams serve as military chaplains in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. A large number of parishes are involved in collecting humanitarian aid for IDPs and funds for the army, praying for the defenders of Ukraine and civilians, helping to shelter the faithful, and volunteering. How do Ukraine’s religious communities respond to the challenges of the Russian invasion and how do they unite Ukrainian society? We collected the answers in Ukraine in Flames #22. Speakers: Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kyiv and All Ukraine Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, former Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister of Culture 2016-2019 Anatolii Babynskyi, Ph.D., Research fellow, Institute of Church History at the Ukrainian Catholic University Fr. Martin Buntov – franciscan, Wrocław (Poland)

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