|Seminarians from St. Sophia Seminary pray for Ukraine.|
(UOC-USA) - The use of force, confrontation and violence will fail to resolve political issues!
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ!
The events of the last several weeks and especially the last several days in the life of independent Ukraine have caused the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to call upon the brothers and sisters in Ukraine to remain true to their aspirations to continue the development of true democratic society that has been under a severe threat. As you know from various media outlets, thousands of Ukrainian citizens have taken liberty to stand up for their beliefs by participating in protests-maydans throughout Ukraine and especially in the capital of Kyiv.
As we have stated in the past: throughout Ukraine’s history, millions of people have given their lives for freedom, dignity and human rights, in order to reclaim the right to peaceful demonstration as well as political and societal activity. We solemnly repeat - The voice of the street must be heard and respected and it cannot be silenced by the noise and uncertainties of those in leadership positions who choose to confuse and abuse by utilizing violence against the protestors. The use of force, confrontation and violence will fail to resolve political issues!
We call upon the leaders of Ukraine to address and immediately cease the violence against the protestors. The country's democratic future will depend on dialogue and the ability to listen to voice of Ukrainian citizens. It is essential that logic and calm prevail. No physical force will ever succeed in eliminating the free will and the voice of the citizenry! The authorities must respect the protestors who simply exercise their political and constitutional – and most importantly – God-Given rights to peacefully gather in protest and demonstration. All the leaders and citizens of the Ukrainian nation must, as Saint Paul reminds us, clothe themselves in “heartfelt mercy, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.” (Col. 3:12)
We direct the clergy and parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to serve a special Moleben service following Divine Liturgy on Sunday, December 15, 2013, beseeching the Lord to shed light on those in darkness, so that they may comprehend the seriousness of the present moment. The future of Ukraine may very well be determined by the actions and words of both those in governmental positions and those protesting peacefully on the streets out of love for their nation. A dialogue must be established between all concerned so as to avoid a degradation of the situation into chaos and economic ruin.
Embracing the gift of freedom with you, our spiritual children here in the United States of America and with those in Ukraine and in the hope of moving forward, rather than backward in history, we beseech with awe and thanksgiving the Father of lights and every perfect gift, the Son of righteousness and the Spirit of truth to descend upon us all, embrace us, guiding and perfecting our every deed.
P.S. We know that many of our faithful have expressed desire to offer monetary assistance to those on the streets of Kyiv and other cities. We encourage them to forward their contributions to the already established channels through Ukrainian Credit Unions and other community organizations.