He added that there are still attacks, bombings, and the expansion of poverty in areas struck by war.
Despite these challenges, the Ukrainian people and the Church are continuing on.
"There are many priests who give their service as chaplains and give strength and hope to young soldiers to resist in this senseless war," he said.
The spiritual resistance to despair and conflict is ecumenical, he added, noting that "there are continuous prayer meetings for peace, with all denominations."
Unfortunately, the conflict has deepened tensions between the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church. In addition, it has caused rifts between some Orthodox Churches as some Orthodox priests and parishioners have left the Russian Orthodox Church to join the autocephalous Orthodox Patriarchate of Kiev.
"More than a conflict, this attitude can lead to isolation of the ecclesial community," Fr. Khalayim lamented. He said the division there was not driven by "loyalty to the commandments of God, but because of political views."
The conflict is not a civil war, Fr. Khalayim commented, but a new kind of hybrid war, which blurs the lines between foreign aggression, foreign sponsorship of a civil war, and a genuine domestic revolution.
Fr. Khalayim pointed out that while Russia denies its presence in the conflict zone in Ukraine, Russia also denied its presence in Crimea before bringing in the army to annex the territory. According to Ukraine, he explained, the conflict within the country is coming from their neighboring state.
"It is clear that without the intervention of Russia, there would never be a military conflict."
This prolonged tension between Ukraine and Russia adds to the complicated history between the two regions. Fr. Khalayim pointed to the history of Russian Tsars Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great and Peter the Great, whom he claims "wanted to exterminate all that was Ukrainian – culture, tradition, language and the Church." The two nations, he says, are "close, yes, but not brothers." Given recent actions, he charged, "Russia has shown it does not want to be a sister nation, but a dominant people."
Despite these challenges facing Ukraine, the Ukrainian people have come together in the face of the conflict. "The pain and suffering have joined the people together, and truly now we can speak of a Ukrainian people," Fr. Khalayim explained. The uniting of the Ukrainian people has also strengthened the resolve of the Church – all the Churches in Ukraine – to stand against violence and to stand for peace. The Orthodox Churches in Ukraine have made steps to form a union together, and other initiatives to protect human dignity have remained the focus of Christians in Ukraine.
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Going forward, Fr. Khalayim suggested, Ukraine must continue to push for freedom and its future.
"Ukraine now has to rise from fear and violence, so that it can be a country of peace and true brotherhood," he said.
Andrea Gagliarducci is an Italian journalist for Catholic News Agency and Vatican analyst for ACI Stampa. He is a contributor to the National Catholic Register.