UGCC carries on with its mission in the occupied territories, said Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Head of the UGCC

Clergymen of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) carry on with their mission in the occupied territories of Ukraine, it is their conscious choice. Head of the UGCC, Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) was reported as saying this by Radio Liberty.

He said there are 11 such parishes of the UGCC.

“Obviously, not all of them are functioning properly, but today there are four priests who provide spiritual care in Luhansk and Donetsk, and five our parishes in the Crimea, which we managed to keep and protect by means of diplomatic intervention on the part of the Apostolic See,” said Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) in the interview at the studio of Radio Liberty in Prague.

According to him, one of the types of service “is just staying by one’s side, being there, and the other is to be the voice of the people and the bridge that connects those areas with the larger Ukrainian family,” therefore the activities in the occupied territories are a “conscious choice.”

The Supreme Archbishop of Kyiv and Galicia, Metropolitan of Kyiv, Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) visited Prague from 7 to 9 March to meet with the local Ukrainian community and spiritual leaders and senior officials of the Czech Republic.

After the annexation of Crimea by Russia an armed conflict has been ongoing in Donbas. Parts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, including the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk, are still controlled by the Russia-backed militants. These areas have been recognized as temporarily occupied. According to the UN data, nearly 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

Source: Catholic Observer