Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met last week with Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The meeting comes following Archbishop Shevchuk’s visit to Rome with Ukrainian bishops on their Ad limina visit.
According to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine, the two discussed the Church’s role, particularly while conflicts between government forces and separatists continue. He also praised the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for their patriotism saying that their “position on Russia’s aggression deserves great respect and appreciation.”
“You are making an invaluable contribution to peace, peace in your hearts, because the enemy Ukraine seeks not only for a military victory, but also wants to open a second front in the country, to sow hatred. Therefore the word of the Church, which calls for unity today is extremely important, maybe more than ever in our history,” Poroshenko said.
For his part, Archbishop Shevchuk said that the Greek Catholic Church is doing everything to engage their spiritual strength to support the country and serve the people. He also spoke on his recent meeting with Pope Francis, saying: “I told the Pope that our Church today – a military field hospital, which treats human soul, heals wounds and trying to serve people.”
Archbishop Shevchuk said that he also spoke with officials at the Vatican, asking for assistance to obtain freedom for Nadia Savchenko, a Ukrainian military pilot who was captured by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine and is now imprisoned in Russia.
“We always remember her, pray for her,” he said. “For Nadia is a symbol, a symbol of life and death, justice and injustice, truth and lies.” The Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church expressed his hope that the Holy See could help intervene in order to gain her release.