Metropolitan Anthony: Our society owes to children who live under shellfire

Meeting of the Primate and Hierarchs of the UOC with schoolchildren living in the frontline territories of Donbas. Photo: kdais.kiev.ua

The war in Donbas does the biggest harm to children who have to live in the front-line zone, and all Ukrainian society is responsible for this, Met. Anthony believes.

On January 8, 2020, at a meeting with schoolchildren living in the frontline territories of Donbas, who are visiting the shrines of the UOC as part of the “Christmas. People instead of war. Children of Donbas” action, the UOC Chancellor Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) of Boryspil and Brovary emphasized that the Church pays special attention to these children on Christmas days, because the war is “a bleeding wound of our homeland”. This is reported by the UOC Information Center.

“These Christmas days, the attention of our Church and all the people, who have shown their goodwill, is turned to children from the “red zone” – the contact zone, where, unfortunately, bombs, grenades, and bullets are flying around. Ukrainian society owes a great debt to those children who live there,” Vladyka said.

The Hierarch noted that children who have to live in the frontline territories are experiencing today "what is far from childhood."

“This is not the state we have when we are watching a movie about the war. Living under the whistle of bullets is scary even for an adult, so what should happen to the psyche of a child who is only growing?” Metropolitan Anthony stresses.

According to the Metropolitan, society should pay special attention to children from the frontline zones on Christmas days.

“The Nativity of Christ is an amazing holiday – a celebration of the manifestation of God's boundless love for the fallen human race. The Nativity of Christ is also a celebration of the manifestation of special humanity, because it is on these days that God Almighty becomes one of us, thereby showing that the path to Heaven lies only when a person recreates truly human qualities in himself. But the holiday of the Nativity of Christ is also a children's holiday, because on the icons of this holiday we can see God lying in a manger – a defenseless child,” he said.

Taking care of all the children on Christmas days, the Church feels more concern about the children of Donbas, since the war is “a bleeding wound of our homeland,” emphasizes His Eminence Anthony.

The UOC Chancellor also emphasized that the Church supports the state’s policy of unifying the country.

“We are glad that today there are similar initiatives, and today's authorities are determined to overcome all the contradictions that lead to such dire consequences as war. We also hope that in the near future, the Lord will give our earth peace and prosperity, and those children who today warm their hearts in prayer and carols in our holy shrines will remember this warmth for a long time. And we hope that this is a good start to enriching those people who are based in different parts and regions of Ukraine,” he said.

Metropolitan Anthony also noted that differences in the views of residents of different regions of Ukraine should not lead to global contradictions.

“God does not require us to share the same ideology or the same worldview. He only wants everyone to know God. That is, God is Eternity. In addition, our difference is our inner wealth. Yes, we live in Ukraine in different areas, regions; sometimes we have different backgrounds, different mentality and even different language. But this does not mean that we should be enemies,” he explained.

Recall, on January 8, in the Goloseevo Monastery of Kiev, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry met with a group of schoolchildren from the “red zone” of contact in Donbas, participants in the peace campaign “Christmas. People instead of war. Children of Donbas". The Primate was accompanied by Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich), the UOC Chancellor.

In the framework of the action, from January 6 to 9, about 100 children visited the shrines of Kiev and Pochaev, talked with their peers and celebrated the bright holiday of the Nativity of Christ.

The initiator of the project was Sergey Sivokho, Advisor to the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council on reintegration and restoration of the Donbas, supported by rock musician Oleg Karamazov. The action "Christmas. People instead of war. Children of Donbas” was blessed by the Primate of the UOC Metropolitan Onuphry, His Beatitude Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.

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Should the UOC be involved in peacemaking in the Donbass?
Yes, Christ commanded us to be peacemakers.
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