UOC hierarch: The Church remains a reconciling Mother in Donbass conflict

Metropolitan Arseny (Yakovenko) of Sviatogorsk. Photo: screenshot of the video on the YouTube channel "112 Ukraine"

The Abbot of the Sviatogorsk Lavra told how the monastery helps refugees during the Donbass hostilities.

On June 1, 2020, the Abbot of the Holy Assumption Sviatogorsk Lavra, Metropolitan Arseny (Yakovenko) of Sviatogorsk, told 112 Ukraine television channel about the support and assistance provided by the Lavra to refugees during the war in the Donbass.

According to him, over 2014-2015, about 1000 people lived in the Lavra, among whom 470 were children. Also in 2015, the monastery provided shelter to 176 pregnant mothers and 74 paralyzed people.

From 3,000 to 5,000 people were provided with daily food at the Lavra, which also helped refugees who live in Sviatogorsk, Metropolitan Arseny added. The UOC hierarch explained that there were 5 such assistance hubs in the city.

Today the Lavra provides assistance to hospitals in Slaviansk, Kramatorsk, an orphanage in Krasny Liman and a psychiatric hospital in Kramatorsk. This hospital is deprived of funding, and brethren of the Lavra help the hospital with foodstuffs, added Metropolitan Arseny.

He also said that 120 refugees are currently living in the monastery, of whom nearly 30 are children.

“We would not receive any special aid from the state. This was mainly charitable assistance from many dioceses, including not only the dioceses of Ukraine, but also foreign ones. Help came to us from His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of New York and East America,” said the abbot of Sviatogorsk Lavra. “We also received help from London, from Paris, from Australia, from elsewhere. The Japanese ambassador assisted Ukraine too. Neither the Lavra nor the refugees received any special assistance from the state.”

The hierarch noted that the monastery even pays all utilities itself in full scope.

Metropolitan Arseny also answered the question of journalists about how to overcome the military conflict in the Donbass. In his opinion, the people of Ukraine do not want separation.

“To establish peace, we called to sit at the armistice table and hear each other from the very first days of the military confrontation <...>. The Church, as always, remains the unifying Mother,” he reiterated.

The hierarch of the UOC is confident that in order to end the war in the Donbass, the issue of the benefit of the state and that of its citizens should reign supreme.

Earlier, Metropolitan Arseny reminded believers that prayer prevents the whole world from destruction.

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