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Holy See

Pope Francis ‘Wished to Assume’ Pain of Ukrainian People, Says Major Archbishop of Kiev-Haly

After his meeting with Pope Francis, His Beatitude Svjatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kiev-Halyc of the Ukrainians described the humanitarian situation and highlighted the Holy Father’s special concern for the children, victims of the conflict, reported yesterday the Webpage of “Vatican News.”

The Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church gave his impressions in a press conference on Monday, July 8, 2019, after the meeting he held on July 5 and 6 with the Metropolitans and the Members of the Permanent Synod, as well as with Heads of the competent Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, an initiative with which Pope Francis wished “to express his closeness to this sui iuris Oriental Church.

Listening and Reflection

 The Prelate pointed out that the Pope “wished to assume,” in this meeting, “the pain” of the Ukrainian people, a moment “of listening and reflection and, at the same time, an occasion “of grace” for Pope Francis’ exhortation to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and to the rest of the Oriental Catholic Churches, so that “they develop and flower.”

Also implemented is a “new methodology of communion” between the Successor of Peter and the Oriental Churches, “with the hope that it becomes a “constant practice,” said yesterday Archbishop Shevchuk in the Pio Palace of Rome.

Invitation to Ukraine for the Pope

 During the first day of the said meeting, the Pontiff was invited to visit the country, because his visit could be a “very eloquent and symbolic possibility,” to put an end to the conflict in Donbass, pointed out the Ukrainian Prelate, to which the Pope responded that he would give it thought.

Monsignor Svjatoslav Shevchuk told journalists that the Holy Father was “always present” in the treatment of the humanitarian aspect and that he warned of the “ecological disaster” there will be in the Ukrainian territory because almost four million people will no longer have access to potable water, reported “Vatican News.”

Attention to the Youngest

 He also mentioned that the Holy Father’s attention was drawn to the thousands of children exposed to the conflict, victims of mutilations due to the excessive contamination by “explosive material,” and he said special assistance was agreed for the youngest, in addition to the “Pope for Ukraine” initiative, directed without distinctions to all suffering populations, to help with housing, calefaction, foods, medicine, and psychological care.

In this line, the Church “now opens the challenge of rehabilitation” to those that have lost an extremity due to the bombs of the war, and that today are obliged, perhaps, to “go abroad” to be looked after. The objective is to activate a center “one morning in Ukraine, with the collaboration of the Holy See.”

For five years Ukraine has been suffering the consequences of a war in the country’s Eastern region and a humanitarian crisis that has left, officially, “13,000 dead and 30,000 wounded,” but to have the real numbers they would have to be doubled,” affirmed the Ukrainian Archbishop. And he pointed out especially that in the last two weeks the attacks and bombardments have been directed in particular “against doctors and health convoys.”

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