Saturday, July 13, 2024

Major Archbishop Reveals No Catholic Priests Remain in Russian-Occupied Ukraine

Russian Forces Suppress Catholic Church in Ukraine – Ukrainian Greek Catholic Clergy Driven Out by Occupation

The Catholic Church in Ukraine is facing severe suppression by Russian forces, with all Greek and Roman Catholic clergy being driven out of occupied areas, as reported by the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk. The church has been liquidated in these territories, with no Catholic priests remaining in the occupied areas.

This suppression is part of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022 and has seen attacks initiated since 2014. Not only have Catholic churches and worship sites been destroyed or seized, but clergy of various faiths have been imprisoned, tortured, and even killed.

The recent release of two Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests, Father Ivan Levitsky and Father Bohdan Geleta, who were held captive by Russian forces for a year and a half, sheds light on the dire situation faced by religious leaders in the region. Despite the ban imposed by Russian officials on the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, some believers still remain in the occupied areas, deprived of spiritual care.

Major Archbishop Shevchuk highlights the destruction of churches in various regions under Russian control, as well as the re-consecration of a Ukrainian Greek Catholic church by the Russian Orthodox Church in one village. Reports from the New Lines Institute and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights have classified Russia’s invasion as genocide, with a staggering number of war crimes reported in Ukraine since 2022.

The international community, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, has recognized Russia’s actions against Ukraine as genocide, further shedding light on the atrocities committed against the Catholic Church and other religious communities in the region.

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