Ukrainian Orthodox head backs protests in Belarus, calls on citizens to 'protect the democratic future' of country

Ukrainian Orthodox head backs protests in Belarus, calls on citizens to “protect the democratic future” of country

(Source: CD/Religious Information Service of Ukraine)

The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), Metropolitan Epifaniy, has supported the protests in Belarus and called on citizens there to “protect their dignity and freedom [and] the democratic and independent future of their country”.

The head of the OCU outlined his message with the symbol of the protests: a white, red and white flag. Metropolitan Epifaniy also spoke to them in Belarusian.

“As the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, we cannot remain indifferent and not feel compassion when the future of the Belarusian people – the independence of the state, the freedom and security of citizens, their lives – are under threat,” Epifaniy wrote on Facebook.

Metropolitan Epifaniy called on authorities to immediately stop the violence and release thousands of “innocently detained” people.

The Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which received the tomos of autocephaly or self-government in 2019, called on Belarusians to strive to create their own autocephalous Orthodox Church.

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Ukrainian Greek Catholic patriarch urges prayers for peace

In the meantime, the major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has called on the faithful to intensify their prayers for an end to the violence against the innocent and for the establishment of social order and mutual understanding.

“In these dramatic days when the Belarusian people are fighting for their rights and freedoms – protecting their will, social justice and dignity – I am calling on all sons and daughters of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church to intensify prayers for the cessation of violence against the innocent, for the establishment of social order and accord among the Belarusian people [and] for peace and preserving the unity and integrity of the Belarusian state”, said Archbishop Stanislav Shevchuk.

“The Ukrainian people, who in modern times continue to fight – to protect and assert their freedom and dignity – know better than anyone how difficult it is to thoroughly purge themselves of the domination of the totalitarian past to be able to live in the freedom of the children of God, freely and responsibly developing their social and state existence”, Shevchuk continued.

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“Therefore, let the expression of our solidarity… be a sincere and heartfelt prayer – which we will add to what we do every day at 21:00 for peace and tranquility in Ukraine – that the Lord God have mercy on our peoples and grant them liberation and protection from visible and invisible opposing forces [and] healing and blessing!”, the patriarch stressed.

More on Novena on the turmoil in Belarus:

Belarus bishop alerts amid election protests: “Truth cannot be found where there is violence”

Belarus archbishop appeals to government, opposition to “stop the violence” amid protests over presidential election

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Cameron Doody

Director and editor at Novena
PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. Lecturer in ethics at Loyola University Maryland, Alcalá de Henares (Spain) campus. Religion journalist with 4 years experience.
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