Bishops in Synod: Ukraine is flowing with blood

2014-09-12 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Ukrainian Greek-Catholic bishops from around the world, meeting in Lviv for their annual Holy Synod, have appealed to the international community to help restore peace in Ukraine.

“Ukraine is flowing with blood!” the bishops began, noting the “direct military intervention” in Ukraine by Russia. The bishops have also decried the “unprecedented level of hatred and distortion” taking place in the media.

“The entire world has been able to witness how, over the last months, the aggressor commits crimes against humanity on the territory of Ukraine,” referring to the intentional downing of Malaysian airlines flight MH17 in July, in which 298 people were killed. The bishops also noted the many people suffering from lack of medical assistance, the thousands of people who have been kidnapped and tortured, and the hundreds of thousands of refugees forced to flee their homes. “If these crimes are not immediately stopped,” the bishops predict, “with the onset of the winter cold, the death toll will increase tenfold.” They also warn that, those attacking Ukraine “will not hesitate tomorrow to turn their weaponry against anyone, in their own country and beyond its borders, or attack any other nation in the world.”

In this context, the bishops have appealed “to the consciences of believers of all denominations and faiths… and all people of good will, to heads of state and members of the international community: ‘Stop the bloodshed in Ukraine!’” Silence, inaction, or reluctance to recognize the seriousness of the situation, they say, will make the world “an accomplice of the sin of murder, which cries to heaven for justice.”

The bishops conclude their appeal by calling on world leaders to fulfil their responsibilities by taking the necessary actions “to restore peace and security in Europe,” and by renewing their call to all believers and people of good will for “urgent prayers for the end of aggression and the restoration of a lasting and comprehensive peace in Ukraine.”

Below, please find the complete text of the Appeal of the Synod of the Hierarchy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church:

We, the bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church from Ukraine and from countries of Ukrainian settlements in North and South America, Australia, and Europe, gathered at the annual Holy Synod in Lviv, conscious of the responsibility entrusted to us for our flock, raise our voice on behalf of the people of Ukraine and call out to the people of the world: "Ukraine is flowing with blood!" This peaceful sovereign nation has been subjected to a direct military intervention by a northern neighbor. Hundreds of units of heavy weaponry and technology, thousands of armed mercenaries and soldiers of Russia’s standing army are crossing the borders of Ukraine, sowing death and destruction, in disregard for the terms of the ceasefire and recent diplomatic efforts. At the same time, propaganda continues at an unprecedented level of hatred and distortion of the real state of affairs, which is no less damaging than weapons of mass destruction.

The entire world has been able to witness how, over the last months, the aggressor commits crimes against humanity on the territory of Ukraine. The whole world was shocked with the criminal act of the downing of the Malaysian plane, in which 298 people from 10 different countries died. Thousands of people, especially women and children, have been recklessly killed; and it has not been possible to even bury them with dignity. Many of the wounded are forced to simply wait for death due to the inaccessibility of medical assistance. Thousands of people are being kidnapped and subjected to torture and public humiliation against their human dignity.. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are being forced to flee their homes due to threats against their lives and the danger of death. If these crimes are not stopped immediately, with the onset of the winter cold, the death toll will increase tenfold. Those, who kill people in Ukraine today, will not hesitate tomorrow to turn their weaponry against anyone, in their own country and beyond its borders, or attack any other nation in the world.

In the face of such grave crimes we call out to the consciences of believers of all religions and faiths, we appeal to all people of good will, to heads of state, and members of the international community: "Stop the bloodshed in Ukraine!" Today, silence or inaction, reluctance to recognize the gravity of the situation, which has arisen in our country, can not only turn everyone into a mute or indifferent witness, but also into an accomplice of the sin of murder, which cries to heaven for justice as the Scripture says: "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground" (Genesis 4:10). How can we not recall the words of Saint John Paul II, who in the distant year of 1979, in the vicinity of the former concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, said: "War is caused not only by those who wage it directly but also by those who do not do everything in their power to avoid it." We especially call for responsible action from those whom the Lord has given authority, to take the necessary decisions at the political level in order to restore peace and security in Europe. And once again we call all believers and people of good will to urgent prayers for the end of aggression and the restoration of a lasting and comprehensive peace in Ukraine.

Convinced that God is with us in our sufferings and troubles, that He will hear our common pleas and prayers, and with the coordinated efforts of the international community, we will be able to stop the bloodshed, to defend human dignity, and restore life-giving peace.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav
Major Archbishop of Kyiv and Halych

His Grace Ihor (Vozniak)
Metropolitan of Lviv

His Grace Volodymyr (Viytyshyn)
Metropolitan of Ivano-Frankivsk

His Grace Vasyl (Semeniuk)
Metropolitan of Ternopil

His Grace Ivan (Martyniuk)
Metropolitan of Przsemysl and Warsaw

His Grace Lawrence (Huculak)
Metropolitan of Winnipeg

His Grace Stephen (Soroka)
Metropolitan of Philadelphia

His Grace Volodymyr (Kovbych)
Metropolitan of Curitiba and Brasil

His Excellency Borys (Gudziak)
Bishop of Eparchy of St. Volodymyr in Paris for Ukrainians of the Byzantine rite
in France and Benelux 

And all the Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church

(From archive of Vatican Radio)