Ukrainian Catholic archbishop prays for Crimea

Protestors take refuge and pray for peace in one of two tent-chapels on Maidan Square in Kyiv. Credit: Jakub Szymczuk/GOSC NIEDZIELNY/Courtesy Aid to the Church in Need.

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church issued a statement Feb. 28 praying for the people of Crimea and appealing for the unity of Ukraine, as Russia has reportedly deployed troops in the peninsula.

“The entire family of the UGCC faithful pleads to the compassionate Lord for his protection and assistance to peacefully overcome the deteriorating situation in Crimea, and that the unity of our country might be preserved,” Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halyc said.

Earlier that day, armed men in unmarked military uniforms took control of airports in Crimea, as well as the autonomous republic’s parliament building and state telecommunications and television centers. Flights from Crimean airports have been grounded.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Russia has flown hundreds, or even thousands, of troops into Crimea.

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said any of his country’s military movements in Crimea are “within the framework” of long-standing agreements between Moscow and Kyiv – also known as Kiev; Russia’s Black See fleet has a base at the Crimean city of Sevastopol.

Oleksander Turchynov, Ukraine’s acting president, accused Russia of deploying its troops in Crimea, trying to provoke armed conflict.

“The UGCC faithful pray for the Krym exarchate and for the preservation of the unity of Ukraine,” said a statement from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

“In these days, we pray for peace and security for all residents of the Crimean peninsula, especially the clergy and laity of our Krym exarchate.”

The Krym exarchate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was established only two weeks ago, on Feb. 13. It was split from the exarchate of Odesa, and serves the Ukrainian Catholics in Crimea.

These developments in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church come among profound political transition in the nation.

Protests in Kyiv began in November, when the government announced it would not sign a major economic partnership agreement with the European Union, in favor of a $15 billion bailout agreement with Russia. Tens of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Kyiv, at times occupying government buildings.

Protests continued through February, until more than 80 peeople were killed – some of them by snipers – during protests at Maidan in Kyiv.

On Feb. 21, Viktor Yanukovych, then the president of Ukraine, fled Kyiv; the next day, parliament voted to remove him from power. Turchynov was appointed acting president Feb. 23 by parliament.

Turchyov has already announced his desire to strengthen ties with the European Union, and formed a government Feb. 27, with Arseniy Yatsenyuk appointed as prime minister. Elections have been scheduled for May 25.

Ukraine’s acting president quickly warned against the dangers of separatism, a risk from the majority-Russian areas of eastern Ukraine, particularly Crimea.

Crimea is a southern peninsula of Ukraine where nearly 60 percent of the population are ethnic Russians, and more than 50 percent of the population speak Russian as their first language.

The territory was transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 under the Soviet Union.

On Feb. 27, armed men raised a Russian flag over the Crimean parliament without opposition, and there had been reports of prior clashes of ethnic Russians with Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians on the peninsula.

On Feb. 28, US president Barack Obama stated, “we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties – and a military facility in Crimea. But any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing.”

“The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

On March 1, Russia’s upper house of Parliament voted unanimously to approve Russian military forces in Ukraine, after a request from Russian President Vladimir Putin seeking to normalize the “extraordinary situation in Ukraine.”

Turchynov stated on his party’s Twitter account that the nation “perceive(s) Russia's actions as direct aggression towards the sovereignty of Ukraine.”


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

February 2016
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29

February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

Get our news by email

Bob Smith BMW 300x250
Bob Smith Toyota 300x250
Bob Smith Mini 300x250