Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Creates a Hotline for Russian Parents to Retrieve Bodies of Dead Soldiers

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk made headlines all over the world for not stopping Sunday Masses amidst the clashes of war. Now he has started another impressive initiative: helping Russian parents to find the bodies of their dead sons or find them if still alive and bring them back to Russia. 

Newsroom (28/02/2022 6:00 PM Gaudium Press) His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop and head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC) stated “this Sunday, Kyiv residents will be unable to go to church, because a curfew has been imposed and everyone must be at home because of the threat to life. But then the church will come to the people herself. Our priests will descend into the dungeons, descend into bomb shelters and celebrate Divine Liturgies there.”

Shevchuk, along with volunteers, also started “Come Back Alive from Ukraine” initiative. The fund “has created a hotline for relatives of Russian soldiers, who came to our land like our enemies. If someone has lost touch with their children in Russia, men who were sent to kill in Ukraine, call this number. We want to help you to find the bodies of your dead sons or those who may be still alive and bring them back to Russia,” he announced. 

Meanwhile, the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy, had stern words for his Russian counterpart Patriarch Kirill along with a similar initiative to Sviatoslav.

In his Appeal to the Patriarch of Moscow Kirill, Epifaniy warned that “unfortunately, it is already clear from your previous public statements that maintaining the commitment of Putin and the Russian leadership is much more important for you than taking care of the people in Ukraine, some of whom considered you their pastor before the war. Therefore, it hardly makes sense to ask you to do something effective so that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine immediately stops,” he argued. 

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“We are talking about more than three thousand killed Russian servicemen, whose bodies are on the ground of Ukraine. The leadership of our country has already appealed to the International Red Cross to facilitate the return of the bodies of Russian soldiers to their homeland so that relatives and friends can say goodbye to them and bury them. Unfortunately, no response has been received from the Russian side so far,” Metropolitan Epifaniy remarks.

“Therefore, I appeal to you, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church: show at least mercy to your fellow citizens and flock. If you can’t raise your voice against aggression – at least help take away the bodies of Russian soldiers who paid with their lives for the ideas of the ‘Russian world‘ – yours and your president’s.”

(Via RISU and the UGCC)

Complied by Raju Hasmukh

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