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Benedict XVI tells Ukrainian archbishop: ‘I continue to pray for peace’

November 10, 2022 Catholic News Agency 1
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Nov. 9, 2022 / Rome’s Secretariat of the Major Archbishop of the Greek Catholic Church

Rome Newsroom, Nov 10, 2022 / 02:53 am (CNA).

The leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church met with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery Nov. 9 and asked him to keep praying for Ukraine. 

The pope emeritus told Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk that he “keeps praying for Ukraine.” 

The last meeting between the two dates back to February 2019. During that meeting, Benedict proved to be incredibly informed of the events in Ukraine and stressed that he always prayed for peace in Ukraine.

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Arcbbishop Georg Gänswein, Nov. 9, 2022. Rome's Secretariat of the Major Archbishop of the Greek Catholic Church
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Arcbbishop Georg Gänswein, Nov. 9, 2022. Rome’s Secretariat of the Major Archbishop of the Greek Catholic Church

In their meeting on Nov. 9, Shevchuk spoke about the war in Ukraine, presented the humanitarian situation to the pope emeritus, reiterated that the war in Ukraine is ideological and colonial, and compared it to the Nazi regime.

He also thanked Benedict XVI for his letter at the beginning of the war.

Benedict stressed that he was following the situation in Ukraine closely, expressed his great sorrow for the suffering of the Ukrainian people, and said that he always prayed for peace to come.

Shevchuk replied that “only the power of prayer keeps the Ukrainian people alive,” so he asked to continue praying for Ukraine.

Benedict XVI appointed Sviatoslav Shevchuk bishop on January 14, 2009, assigning him as an auxiliary to the eparchy of Santa Maria del Patrocinio in Buenos Aires, where he met Pope Francis. Benedict XVI also confirmed the election of Sviatoslav Shevchuk as head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church on March 25, 2011. There is, therefore, a strong link between the two.

The Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is in Rome for a week of meetings at the Vatican. It is the first time he has left Ukraine since the Russian aggression on February 24. 

On Monday, he met Pope Francis, to whom he brought a fragment of a mine that destroyed a Greek-Catholic church in the city of Irpin. On November 12, he will meet with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state. On the 14th, he will meet ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.

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Pope Francis joins UN chief’s appeal for Ukraine war Easter truce

April 21, 2022 Catholic News Agency 1
Pope Francis on Palm Sunday 2022 in St. Peter’s Square. / Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Vatican City, Apr 21, 2022 / 06:40 am (CNA).

Pope Francis has joined the head of the United Nations and the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in a call for a four-day truce in Ukraine for the Triduum and Easter.

The Eastern Orthodox churches and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church follow the Julian calendar, meaning they will celebrate Easter on April 24 this year.

The appeal for an Easter truce was launched on April 19 by Antonio Guterres, secretary general of the UN, in agreement with Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk.

“Easter is a season for renewal, resurrection and hope. It is a time for reflection on the meaning of suffering, sacrifice, death — and rebirth. It is meant to be a moment of unity,” Guterres said at UN headquarters in New York

“This year, Holy Week is being observed under the cloud of a war that represents the total negation of the Easter message,” he said, calling for a four-day pause on fighting, beginning on Holy Thursday, April 21, to allow for the opening of humanitarian corridors and the safe delivery of aid.

The Vatican announced on April 21 that Pope Francis had joined the UN chief’s appeal, after the pope had called for an Easter truce in Ukraine during Palm Sunday Mass on April 10.

“In the knowledge that nothing is impossible for God, they invoke the Lord so that the population trapped in war zones may be evacuated and peace may soon be restored, and they ask those in charge of the Nations to listen to the people’s cry for peace,” a Vatican press release said.

At the end of Mass on Palm Sunday 2022, Pope Francis urged the laying down of weapons for an “Easter truce.”

Before an estimated 65,000 people in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said that “nothing is impossible for God.”

“He can even bring an end to a war whose end is not in sight, a war that daily places before our eyes heinous massacres and atrocious cruelty committed against defenseless civilians. Let us pray about this.”

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