Expel ‘evil spirit of war’ from Ukraine with prayer and fasting, urges Catholic leader

CNA Staff   By CNA Staff


The aftermath of Russian bombing on the outskirts of Irpin, northern Ukraine. / Drop of Light/Shutterstock.

Kyiv, Ukraine, Mar 14, 2022 / 08:10 am (CNA).

A Ukrainian Catholic leader called on Monday for prayer and fasting to “cast out the evil spirit of war” from his homeland.

In a video message released on March 14, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk recalled that Jesus told his disciples that certain kinds of evil spirits could be cast out only through prayer and fasting.

“Therefore I encourage everyone to pray and fast in order to cast out the evil spirit of war in Ukraine and from all those who are its bearers,” he said.

“Let us fast and pray for an end to the war in Ukraine. Each one in their own way, as each one knows, as each one is able. In Ukraine and abroad, let us pray and fast for an end to this bloodshed.”

“May the merciful Lord hear our prayers, may he send his angels of light to stop the darkness that is advancing upon Ukraine.”

The leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who is based in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, also appealed for prayers for those seeking a diplomatic breakthrough to end the war.

“It is evident that the time for declarations, the time for establishing principles and other concepts, has passed. We need to look for mechanisms to stop the war,” he said, adding that he hoped God would grant wisdom to those engaging in peace talks.

The 51-year-old also thanked people who demonstrated against the war in cities across the world at the weekend.

He said: “We understand that in these circumstances there cannot be a neutral position, because the one who remains silent, the one who does not condemn this war, becomes an accomplice to this crime, becomes an accomplice to aggression and murder of innocent people in Ukraine.”

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk records a video message on March 14, 2022. news.ugcc.ua.
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk records a video message on March 14, 2022. news.ugcc.ua.

In his video message on Sunday, March 13, the major archbishop encouraged Ukrainians to go to confession in Great Lent. He said that churches across Ukraine were “open almost around the clock in order to serve our people.”

“But in a circumstance when there is no access to the minister of the Mystery of Repentance, I recall that there is the opportunity to benefit from the forgiveness of sins through a perfect act of contrition,” he said.

Shevchuk also thanked the Nordic Catholic bishops for issuing a message that “clearly and sharply condemned the aggressor and the aggression against Ukraine.”

In his video message on Saturday, March 12, he said that there were “mountains of corpses, rivers of blood, and seas of tears” in Ukraine.

“With pain in our hearts, we see how in besieged cities, for example in Mariupol, thousands of people are laid to rest without prayer, without Christian honor, without a Christian burial, in enormous, unnamed mass graves with thousands of people,” he said.

The Associated Press reported on March 14 the death of a pregnant woman who was photographed being carried on a stretcher after the bombing of a maternity ward in Mariupol, known as the “City of Mary.”

Meanwhile, President Alexander Lukashenko reportedly sent a congratulatory message to Pope Francis on March 13, on the ninth anniversary of his election. Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressed hope that he would meet the pope in person in the near future, reported Italy’s Agenzia Nova.

On Monday, the pope received Eduard Heger, the prime minister of Slovakia, a country that has received more than 200,000 people from Ukraine since the full-scale Russian invasion on Feb. 24.

The Holy See press office said that Heger also met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and “foreign minister” Archbishop Paul Gallager.

The talks included “an in-depth discussion of the war in Ukraine and its impact at regional and international level, with particular attention to the humanitarian situation and the reception of war refugees,” the press office said.

The pope met the same day with Edgars Rinkēvičs, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Latvia, which borders Russia.

Pope Francis sent two Vatican cardinals last week as papal envoys to Ukraine. Cardinal Michael Czerny, interim prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, returned to Rome on March 11, while papal almoner Cardinal Konrad Krajewski left Ukraine on March 12.

In his video message on Monday, Major Archbishop Shevchuk thanked the pope for addressing the war in his Sunday Angelus address.

“I also want to thank very much the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who once more yesterday stood in defense of the cities of the martyrs of Ukraine, in defense of the martyred city of Mariupol, where once more this night and throughout all of yesterday more than a hundred people died,” he said.

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  1. Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk’s appeal for prayer and fasting, and his spiritual rationale certainly has my support. At this stage of this intensifying, deadly conflict it may be the only viable solution.

  2. As Archbishop Shevchuk perceives a spirit of evil in Ukraine, the immoral shelling, killing of helpless civilians, increased rage toward Russia in Ukraine and the world we are experiencing in our own Nation, a parallel spirit of irrational rage. Persons who are normally guarded and intellectually objective are taken to rant, the enemy is anyone who judges events objectively seeking possibility of a just resolution. Media, virtually all speak of arrest and confinement of others who objectively quote facts, seek grounds for a just resolution.
    It’s what I call the guilt rage syndrome that affects the unprincipled advocates of liberty who find the daemonic in their perceived adversary. An irrational anger that assuages guilt. As it poses danger of protracted war in Ukraine it threatens civil liberty and free speech in America. And an increased possibility of intransigence leading to world conflict. The urgency of Shevchuk’s appeal for prayer and sacrifice is becoming vividly manifest.

  3. Healing from any malady, the petition of the saints is heard by God! We have the affliction of war and many are affected.

    James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

    Jeremiah 29:12-13 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

    Proverbs 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

    Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

  4. US, CANADA, UKRAINE AND RUSSIA 2022 DISPUTES – HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND SEQUEL TO FR. PETER MORELLO’S COMMENTS: (1) US, Canada, Ukraine and Russia are Caucasian-European nations by ethnic majority and nominally Christian nations by religious majority; (2) Ukraine and Russia are also Slavic nations and neighbors with similar laws (limits) on abortion and LGBT; (3) Russia was US’ supporter in the American Revolution at great cost to herself – the island of Menorca; (4) Russia was US’ supporter in the Civil War when US’ opponents were Britain and France, prompting US Secretary of Navy, Gideon Welles to say “God bless the Russians”; (5) US (western Alaska) and Russia are neighbors, and Canada (northwestern Yukon) is closer to Russia than to Britain and France or Mexico; (6) US and Russia were never at war, not counting the Cold War or proxy wars, as compared, for example, with the “G7” nations; (7) US, Canada, NATO and Ukraine have disputes with Russia since the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and militarization of countries neighboring Russia which was invaded over the centuries by NATO members Britain, France, Germany, (Mussolini’s) Italy, Romania, Lithuania-Poland, Turkey and by others including Sweden and the Mongols who inflicted on Ukraine and Russia death and destruction with hardly any parallels in world’s history – Germany also helped Lenin to impose psychopathic and deadly Marxism on Ukraine and Russia in 1917, while Ukraine and Russia, mostly by themselves, prevented Poland’s annihilation by Nazis and saved Europe from Nazi Germany and Mongols; (8) Ukraine and Russia have a border dispute, and a military conflict-war since the violations of the February 21, 2014 all-Ukrainian political agreement in Kiev and the violations of the 2014-2015 Minsk Peace Agreement signed by Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France (in the future, a joint venture by the Minsk signatories in securing Ukrainian segment of “Pan-European” gas pipeline might be a “win-win”) – by February 23, 2022 the war took some 15,000 lives and produced thousands of refugees as well as widespread material destruction in eastern Ukraine; on February 24, 2022 Russia escalated the war and invaded Ukraine resulting in many more deaths, refugees and material destruction across Ukraine; (9) US and Russia can destroy each other and the world with their nuclear weapons in an hour; (10) the irreplaceable way forward for resolving these issues are the eternally-valid biblical principles reflected in President Washington’s Farewell Address in which he called religion-morality the foundation of domestic well-being and peace with other nations and in President Lincoln’s last Inaugural Address “… with malice towards none, with charity for all … among ourselves and with all nations”, as well as in Pope Francis’ 2022 call for prayer and political talks centered on “human brotherhood instead of partisan interests”, all the while keeping in mind the 2022 Lenten message “Remember thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return” and “Repent and believe in the Gospel” which also includes “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” and the parable of “the speck and the log” – moral principles given to us by Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace and the just Judge of the world, principles ignored at one’s great peril.

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