“It is precisely the presence of God in the midst of His City, in the icon of God’s wisdom, that is embodied in the life of our people, in the life of our state,” he commented.
Shevchuk, who has led the global Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church since 2011, when he was aged 40, lamented the bombardment of Ukrainian cities and the exodus of refugees, as well as the rising number of dead Russian soldiers.
Also on Wednesday, the Catholic bishops of Belarus, Ukraine’s neighbor, issued an appeal for peace. Their statement was significant as the Belarusian government, led by President Alexander Lukashenko, is allied with Russia.
“We sympathize with our southern neighbor Ukraine, which is experiencing tragedy,” the bishops said.
“We support the appeals of the Holy Father Pope Francis and the Apostolic See, diplomatic measures and negotiations between Russia and Ukraine on Belarusian soil with a view to an immediate cessation of hostilities and the search for ways to reconciliation; but in order for the parties to be able to hear each other, it is necessary that the weapon be silenced.”
On Tuesday, the Vatican Cardinal Leonardo Sandri lamented the “unjustified invasion” of Ukraine, reported the Secretariat of the Major Archbishop in Rome.
The prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches was speaking at the end of a prayer service for peace at the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Cathedral Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Rome.
Pope Francis has sent medical supplies for Ukrainian refugees to the parish, which serves as the national church of Italy’s Ukrainian Catholic community.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, visited the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in London on March 2.
“Our thoughts and prayers, however inadequate they may be, are with all of you at this most critical of times,” the Prince of Wales said.
Concluding his message, Shevchuk said: “O God, receive our prayer! O God, preserve Your city! Be in our midst, and then we will not be shaken.”
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“O God, before the morning bless us and give Ukraine peace.”