ugcc.org.ua - This week a ceasefire between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists came into effect but the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE) said violations to the ceasefire are already occurring.  

The conflict, which started in April 2014, has killed some 10,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes. 3.8 million people are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance. 

Speaking to Vatican Radio, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, said that Europe must not allow the humanitarian emergency unfolding at its heart to go unnoticed.

Those who are trapped in the so-called “grey zone” on the border of the occupied territory which has been under constant bombardment for the past three years: almost 200,000 people including many elderly people and families. According to UNICEF some 12,000 children live in this area. He said the Church is present on the territory and supported by funds raised by Pope Francis’ call for a collection that goes towards food, medicine and other basic needs. 

-    Those who are trapped in the occupied territory and who are unable to receive international humanitarian aid. The only way the Church manages to reach these people is through local priests who do their best to travel back and forth to the Ukrainian area, filling their cars with basic goods for the population that is on the brink of hunger.

-    Then there are the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, many of whom have sought refuge in central and western Ukraine. Unofficial statistics estimate over 2 million internally displaced persons. The national Caritas branch is practically alone in trying to assist these people.

Shevchuk also comments on the recent UNICEF report and its appeal for over 1 million children in need of assistance in eastern Ukraine.

“The suffering of a million children is the suffering of the innocent. This is what led me to make an appeal to the international community to do everything possible to end hostilities” he said, pointing out  that the Church must give a voice to the voiceless.

He said it is really upsetting to see how these children live and how they continue to try to go to school in shattered buildings. He pointed out that 19,000 children are in constant danger of mines and other explosive devices in the area. 

“Although children are told not to touch objects they come across, every day a child is injured because the militants leave toys that are loaded with explosives all over the ground” he said.

Shevchuk said nothing has changed since the change of the administration in the US, but unfortunately none of the agreements brokered so far have had an effect.

“We know there can be no military solution to the conflict in Ukraine that’s why I appeal to the international community to continue to push forward diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire” he said.

Archbishop Shevchuk concluded saying Pope Francis is constantly informed on the situation and that the Apostolic Nuncio travels often to the area. He said that everyone hopes and prays that perhaps the Pope himself will be able to accept a standing invitation to visit one day.


Source:Vatican radio,  Linda Bordoni

http://news.ugcc.ua/en/articles/major_abp_shevchuk_to_intl_community_stop_war_in_ukraine_78793.html


Teachings of Christ

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Saints and Martyrs

Adorned with the blood of Your Martyrs throughout the world, * as with purple and fine linen, * Your Church cries out to You through them: * "Send down Your compassions upon Your people. * Grant peace to Your commonwealth and great mercy to our souls." (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

As the first-fruits of nature to the Planter of Creation, * the whole world offers to You, O Lord, the God-bearing martyrs. * Through their prayers and the intercession of the Mother of God * preserve Your commonwealth, the Church, in profound peace, O Most Merciful One. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Seek, my child, the nobility of the soul, for it is truth; that of the body is false. Do not seek honor from men, for this injures one; but rather, seek heavenly glory . . . . You are to be sympathetic with all the brethren and help them as much as possible; and, you are to minister to them that are unable or weak. Do not desire to live by another's labors . . . . Never ridicule anyone, and especially when they are in misfortune. When you hear that a certain brother is disorderly, supplicate God to correct his life. Visit and help the sick, and serve the brethren as their servant; so you might be a friend of Christ Who, for your sake, became a servant and minister. Always heed, my child, not to fall into temptations. However, if it happens that you should fall, immediately rise up and amend yourself with repentance, and again hasten to prayer. In this manner, live your life, my child, and God shall always come to you and help you in soul and body.

St. Theodora of Alexandria, "The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers: An Orthodox Materikon of Women Monastics and Ascetics