UGCC head: Idea of Ukrainian and Russian women carrying a cross offensive

Sviatoslav Shevchuk. Photo:

According to the leader of the Ukrainian Uniats, gestures of reconciliation between the two nations are possible only after the war is over.

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, said that the Pope's idea of a cross being carried by a Ukrainian and a Russian woman in the Colosseum procession was unacceptable in the context of the ongoing war, reports the official website of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

He noted that for Greek Catholics in Ukraine this is "incomprehensible and even offensive, especially in the context of the expected second, the even bloodier advance of Russian troops on our cities and villages."

"I know that our Roman Catholic brothers share these thoughts and concerns as well," the UGCC head added.

Shevchuk said he has already conveyed to the Vatican numerous negative reactions from a host of bishops, priests, monks and laity who are convinced that gestures of reconciliation between the two nations will only be possible when the war ends and the perpetrators of crimes against humanity are justly condemned.

The procession in the Coliseum will take place on 15 April, the Friday before Catholic Easter. Pope Francis has invited family members of a Ukrainian and a Russian citizen, who have worked together for many years at a hospice in Rome, to participate in the ceremony. They are to hold a large wooden cross for part of the procession. Ukrainian Ambassador to the Vatican Andrey Yurash also expressed his disagreement with the Pope's idea.

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