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Ukraine: blessed are the peacemakers

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 Contents - Apr 2014AD2000 April 2014 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Ukraine: blessed are the peacemakers - Peter Westmore
Cardinal Pell appointed to senior Vatican post - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Russia: the rebirth of religious belief - Peter Westmore
Ukraine: Bishop Peter Stasiuk: Ukrainian people want peace and justice - Bishop Peter Stasiuk
Marriage: Don't trust media reporting of Synod on marriage - Philip F. Lawler
Vocations: Australia's flourishing seminaries 2014 - Br Barry Coldrey
Communicating the Faith with C.S. Lewis - Fr. D. Longenecker
Depression: Charlotte Dawson: she died of a broken heart - Anne Lastman
Radicalism in Islam: the Christian response - Father Samir Khalil Samir SJ
Conversion and confession - Cedric Wright
Letters: Asylum seeker statement - Richard Congram
Letters: Appreciation for Anne Lastman - Errol Duke
Letters: Private Revelations - John Young
Passover: Jesus last words: 'It is finished' - Anne Lastman
Books: Pope Francis, Our Brother, Our Friend, by Alejandro Bermudez (Editor) - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: Jorge Mario Bergoglio: Francis, Pope of a New World, by Andrea Tornielli - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Books: WHEN HITLER TOOK AUSTRIA: Memoir by the Chancellor's Son, Kurt von Schuschnigg - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Events: Holy Week 2014 - Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (1962 Missal)
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Lent: our preparation for Easter - Bishop Anthony Fisher OP

As the crisis in Ukraine deepens with the annexation of Crimea by Russian forces, leaders of all Ukraine's major faiths signed a joint letter appealing for Russia to respect the territorial integrity of their nation.

The letter was signed by the leaders of the Ukrainian Orthodox, Catholic, Baptist, Evangelical Christian, Lutheran and Seventh Day Adventist churches, as well as Kyiv's Chief Rabbi. The significance of this joint letter comes, in part, from the high level of religious belief and practice in Ukraine, and the fact that the religious leaders are from the east and west of the country.

In their letter, the church leaders said, "There is no oppression in our country based on language, nationality or religious belief. Therefore we give witness that all attempts by Russian [government] propaganda to represent the events in Ukraine as a 'fascist coup d'etat' and 'extremists' victory' do not correspond to reality."

Separately, the section of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is part of the Russian Orthodox Church appealed to Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church "to do everything possible not to permit bloodshed on the territory of Ukraine". The church is strongest in eastern Ukraine which has close linguistic, religious and cultural ties to Moscow.

Metropolitan Onufry wrote to Patriarch Kirill, "I ask you to lift your voice for the preservation of the territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state.

"In this difficult hour, we are raising fervent prayers to Our Lord Jesus Christ that he, by the prayers of his Most Holy Mother, will save us from warfare between the fraternal Russian and Ukrainian nations."

The Metropolitan also wrote to President Putin, asking him "to halt the people's grief, prevent the division of our Ukrainian state and the Holy Church".

Metropolitan Kirill spoke by telephone with the Acting President of Ukraine, Alexander Turchinov, expressing deep concern at events in the country. He wrote to the Orthodox faithful warning against further polarisation of society and the growth of violence against peaceful citizens. "The Ukrainian people must determine their own future without external interference," he said

If peace can be restored in Ukraine, as we must hope and pray, it will be due in no small measure to the religious leadership of Ukraine and Russia.

Peter Westmore is Publisher of AD2000.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 27 No 3 (April 2014), p. 2

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