UOC Chancellor: Using churches as military targets is unacceptable
Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary has called on all concerned to stop shelling Orthodox churches.
The address of the Сhancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) on the consequences of the war in Ukraine for the UOC on March 16, 2022 was published by the portal "Orthodox Life".
Dear brothers and sisters!
For three weeks now there has been war in our country. Homes are being destroyed, millions of women with children are forced to leave their husbands and seek salvation in foreign lands, in other countries. Most of those who suffer the horrors of war are faithful members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The Church shares the pain of its people and suffers with them. Unfortunately, the hostilities in Ukraine have led to much destruction of God's temples.
In the east, south, north and centre of the country the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has partially or completely lost more than 30 churches. And this figure may increase significantly as we have no connection with many cities.
As a result of shelling, both rural churches and cathedrals are being destroyed. The faithful are losing churches where many generations of our ancestors prayed. For example, in the Boryspil Eparchy, St. George's Church in the village of Zagorychi burned down as a result of a direct hit from a missile. This was a beautiful wooden church of the 19th century that survived even during World War II. But last week only ashes remained in its place.
Some may say: "What are you talking about? People are dying, and you are talking about your temples. Indeed, war spares no one and nothing. Civilians, adults and children, our compatriots are dying in the Kyiv region, in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Mariupol, Severodonetsk, Izium, Rivne. It seems there is no region in Ukraine without victims.
Infrastructure, houses, historical and architectural monuments are being destroyed. All this is being "devoured" by the war. But still the temple is not just a building, it is a place of special presence of God. It is a place where Christians are united with Him in the sacrament of communion. The temple is both in the world and above the world. In it we should feel absolutely safe. Most churches of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been sheltering civilians since the outbreak of hostilities. People have been hiding there during the shelling. And many of those who lost their homes because of the war have found a second home in churches.
This is why it is completely unacceptable to use churches as a military target. I understand that mistakes happen in war. But not in such quantities.
I urge everyone on whom it depends to stop shelling the Orthodox churches. And, after all, to stop this terrible war.