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Head of UGCC: “We are able to stay in the same trench with our fighters”
25 November 2016, 10:20 | Faith and weapon | 1 | | Code for Blog | |
While in the area of ATO, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Head of the UGCC, visited one of the local military chapels existing from the beginning of war. The leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic community was welcomed by military chaplains and military-clad believers, the “People's Army” website reported on November 25.
“I am very pleased and moved to be here, in this field chapel. I have the opportunity to meet with you,” Patriarch Sviatoslav said, turning to the military servicemen and clergy. “Everyone is in his place – as a priest, as a military serviceman and as a citizen of this country. One priest will not stop the war, it is beyond human power. But we can look into the eyes of death staying beside the soldiers. We are unable to protect our land and soldiers from the deadly force of Grad shells fired sent by the enemy, but to we are capable at this point to stay in a trench with them.
According to the head of the UGCC, it is important that soldiers who are at the forefront understand they are not alone, not abandoned. Ukrainian nation is united through the defense of Homeland. And this responsibility lays on the shoulders of not only military, but of every Ukrainian citizen, wherever he may be.
“There are different kinds of victories. You can beat the enemy on the physical level, killing him. But there is still a spiritual victory. Man is unable to destroy the devil, but the meaning of moral victory is to withstand shock and not to succumb to temptations. Perhaps this is the victory that awaits us,” the head of UGCC believes. “The invaders believed that Ukraine will fall like a house of cards from a push from their boot. But it did not work. I have a growing sensation that the Ukrainian strength - spiritual and pragmatic strength gradually increases. However, everybody is getting demoralized beyond the boundary line. In fact, their system rests on bayonets, and society has no healthy enthusiasm.
The UGCC marks the 25th anniversary of chaplaincy. When the Greek Catholics first knocked on the gates of military units, it was pretty hard. The force command has been under the influence of Soviet stereotypes, not understanding the importance and role of a priest in the army. A breakthrough has occurred only recently. The chaplains followed the volunteers from Euromaidan to the steppes of Donbas - to the frontline, and showed through deeds who they are. Now the status of a military chaplain gradually acquired legal traits familiar to many developed countries, normalizing it as a full-time institution of the Armed Forces.
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