On November 6, 2018, the Head and Father of the Ukranian Greek-Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, took part in the “Plant a Tree of Peace” Permanent Ukrainian Ecological Action, and he planted a tree on the Path of Peace near the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection.
The Action was initiated in the Cathedral with a prayer for peace in Ukraine.
Some top Ukrainian functionaries joined the event, among whom were Ostap Semerak, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources; Lilia Grynevych, Minister of Public Education; Pavlo Petrenko, Minister of Justice; Volodymyr Omelian, Minister of Infrastructures; Igor Zhdanov, Minister of Youth and Sport, and Arseniy Yatsenyuk who was Ukraine’s Prime Minister during the period 2014-2016.
“I greet in our Patriarchal Cathedral the Ukrainian Ministers that, together with us, wish to plant a tree of peace, so that all together — as believers and as a community of persons to which Our Lord has entrusted the future of Ukraine, of Ukrainian families and of the human being on this earth – are responsible for the cultivation of peace,” said the Major Archbishop.
The objective of this Action is to call attention to the disastrous socio-ecological consequences of the war in the East of Ukraine, to the irreparable damages done to the country’s environment, to ecological problems, to the increase of the level of ecological awareness and to ecological patriotism. This Action is an appeal to the conservation of nature, of the earth and of the Ukrainian nation.
As His Beatitude Sviatoslav observed, the word “tree” has profound symbolic meaning in the Scriptures. The greatest symbol of the tree is the sign of the Vivifying Cross on which Our Saviour offered Himself. And, in fact, with His death on the cross, He transformed the tree into a sign of peace, into a sign of reconciliation between God and humanity, between the Creator and His creation.”
The Action was held on November 6: the day of the prevention of exploitation of the environment during bellicose and military conflicts. His Beatitude stressed that people are beginning to understand that during the suffering of the war not only the human being but the whole of the Divine Creation suffered and wept. “We see that the wounds are inflicted not only on Ukrainians but on the whole of the Ukrainian earth, rich and fertile. The international organizations say that the East of Ukraine is one of the earthly globe’s most contaminated lands by explosive materials. Today we want to plant together a tree of peace to heal the wounds of Ukraine on of its land, and to ensure that our common home — Ukraine — can develop in peace. Because peace needs to be taken care of exactly like a tree, which receives care from a human being.”