AFU soldier to authorities: Don't spit in God's face, don't multiply grief
Naval serviceman Pavlo Velchev urged those in power not to divide Ukrainians into "right" and "wrong" and not to kick the monks out of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
Pavlo Velchev, a graduate of the Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary and now a serviceman in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, called on the Ukrainian authorities to stop the groundless persecution of the UOC. He stated this in a video address, which was published by the KDAiS press service.
Pavlo said that he volunteered to defend Ukraine and now serves in the Marines.
"Dear representatives of the state authorities, please hear our voice!” he said. “Do not multiply human grief by dividing Ukrainians into 'right' and 'wrong', for our strength is in unity. We all yearn for victory over evil, and we do everything we can to see Ukraine rise from its knees as quickly as possible. But how can we strive for victory without peace inside? Why does everyone see the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as the enemy at a time when it was one of the first to condemn the Russian invasion of our holy land when our Church is just as struggling with evil and just as eager to win?"
The serviceman appealed to the authorities not to evict the monks from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
"In these holy days of Holy and Great Lent, I sincerely ask you: do not expel from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra true prayers, who pray for Ukraine, for the Ukrainian army, for the Ukrainian government and for the whole world. Perhaps, it is thanks to these holy prayers that we are still holding on. I urge not to spit in the face of God Himself, not to destroy what has been built over years and centuries," stressed Pavlo.
He recalled the words of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:11-12).
"These words are a great consolation for the believers of our Church and a reason for reflection for those who persecute Her," noted Pavlo Velchev.
As reported, KDAiS students, whose relatives and friends are now at the frontline, have appealed to the President and the Ukrainian government not to expel the Kyiv Theological Schools from the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.