“We don’t have time to be frightened”

We don’t have time to be frightened

Under constant attack from Russian invading forces, a priest continues to minister in under-siege Ukraine, saying “We don’t have time to be frightened. We are staying and helping the people to survive this situation”.

Brother Vasyl spoke with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) from a village near Mariupol in south-east Ukraine. Mariupol is an important port, lying only 60 kilometres from the Russian border. However, it is near the areas under separatist control and under heavy fire.

Magda Kaczmarek, Project Manager for Ukraine with ACN, reported, “The leading bishops of the country have made an appeal not to leave the country. That is a difficult decision, above all for priests of the Greek catholic church, many of whom are married. They are afraid not so much for their own lives as for the safety of their children and families”.

Project partners from Kyiv and many other towns across the country have reported shootings and explosions. Many have spent the night in presbyteries and bunkers says Kaczmarek. It’s unclear what target will be attacked next.

Pauline priest Roman Laba from Bowary, a suburb of the capital Kyiv, said in a video message to ACN that a rocket attack on the city killed seven people and wounded 17. The city has experienced multiple rocket attacks, prompting many people to leave for the west of the country.

“Many people came to the parish looking for help and shelter. So we have set up emergency accommodation in the basement of our monastery and in the unfinished monastery church. Currently we have around 80 people with us including members of the parish and people from surrounding buildings” says Fr Roman. “Please pray for Ukraine” ends the message.

Bishop Jan Sobilo, from Saporischschja in eastern Ukraine, is originally from Poland but rejects any suggestion of getting to safety. “I came here to serve the people. This terrible time of war must also turn itself into a blessing so that goodness and love win.”

The Latin rite bishop of Kharkiv-Zaporiyia has spent the past days in a bunker with several families, as well as with his Orthodox counterpart. Amid the constant bombings, Bishop Pavlo Honcharuk sent a message saying “we are really surprised and very grateful for the mobilisation of so many people, not only all over Ukraine but also abroad”.

“I wish for this war to end as quickly as possible. But while evil has shown itself to be so strong, this has also exposed a lot of good. In a way, the evil we are experiencing also squeezes the good juice from the grape, and that good juice is our compassion, mutual support and love. It shows our true faces. God bless you all! Thank you!” Bishop Honcharuk said.

The bishop concluded, “my message is short because we are under constant bombardment and I am a little nervous, but we try to act normally. God bless you!”


Aid to the Church in Need

Aid to the Church in Need

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