Pope Francis received, on January 25, a delegation from the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, appointed under his English -speaking acronym. The primacy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the major archbishop of the Greek-Catholic Church rubbed shoulders there the great rabbi of Ukraine and the Grand Mufti. The sovereign pontiff “thanked” his visitors for their “unity” worthy of “members of the same family”, adding: “It is not a Jewish Ukraine, a Christian Ukraine, a Ukraine Orthodox, of a Catholic Ukraine, of an Islamic Ukraine … No, the important thing is Ukraine, the “mother” Ukraine for whom each one gathers. “
The Pope, very committed both in ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox Church and in interreligious dialogue, assured that he would continue his prayers for Ukraine. The delegation gave him a list of doctors imprisoned by Russia on this occasion. It was the first visit to the Vatican of the UCCRO, already mobilized for several years to defend the cause of Ukraine abroad. 2> from Euromaidan to the Russian invasion
This interreligious body has truly emerged in favor of the “revolution of dignity”, as well as the Ukrainians called the popular uprising which, from November 2013 to February 2014, forced the resignation of President Ianoukovitch. The Head of State had indeed refused to sign the association agreement with the European Union, obviously under pressure from the Kremlin, provoking a virulent protest in the place (“Maidan”) of independence , renamed “Euromaïdan”. The monastery of Saint-Michel-au-Dôme-d’Or, the beating heart of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, had then served as a refuge and the rear base for the demonstrators. The sanctuary had sounded the tocsin for the first time since the Mongol invasions of the 13th century e sup> century, while the Grand Mufti, itself from Donbass, joined the movement.
The success of the Euromaïdan uprising resulted in the trigger by Russia of an “unconcola war”, with first the occupation and annexation of Crimea, then the destabilization of the Donbass. The UCCRO, hitherto concentrated on interreligious dialogue within Ukraine, then became an instrument for promoting kyiv’s theses internationally. Beyond meetings with diplomats stationed in the Ukrainian capital, the UCCRO chained visits to Berlin in 2015, in The Hague in 2016, or in Strasbourg in 2017.
His delegation in Israel was able, in 2019, to be received by the President of the State and that of the Knesset, but the Prime Minister Netanyahu, invited soon after by Vladimir Putin to the Military Parade of the “Victory” on the Moscow Red Place, did not wish to meet her. The same day of the Russian invasion, On February 24, 2022, the UCCRO declares :” We support the armed forces of Ukraine and all our defenders, we bless them in their defense ‘Ukraine against the attacker and we offer our prayers for them. “
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