Thursday, February 2, 2023

    War further proves importance of clergy in supporting Army, people – Parliament Head

    Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk and First Deputy Chairman Oleksandr Kornienko took part in the ceremony of awarding representatives of the clergy, in particular, military chaplains, and members of religious and public organizations.

    The ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Oleksandr Tkachenko, and Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hanna Maliar, the parliament’s press service reports.

    Early into the event, the Rada Chairman emphasized the symbolism of the fact that the award ceremony was taking place in the Sofia of Kyiv National Reserve, the spiritual center of Ukraine.

    He thanked all the nominees for their great contribution to our future victory over the enemy because the war further proved the importance and value of the role of the clergy in supporting our Armed Forces and the Ukrainian people.

    “This is probably the greatest, most holy vocation there can be. With God’s protection, you accompany our fighters to the holy cause of the liberation of the holy Ukrainian land, support them, instill faith and truth in them, encourage them to take action that will certainly lead to the victory of Ukraine in this terrible unprovoked and unjust war Russia is waging on our country,” he stressed.

    Today’s meeting will be a good sign to continue doing great and good things together for the benefit of our land and people, Stefanchuk noted.

    He recalled that the chaplaincy service is now legalized by the recently adopted Law “On Military Chaplaincy Service” and called on clergy to improve legislation on military chaplains in order to “do everything so that the chaplaincy service, chaplaincy support of the Ukrainian Army was definitely implemented.”

    Oleksandr Kornienko, the first deputy chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, who initiated the award, also expressed his gratitude to the representatives of religious communities for their service for the good of the country and our victory.

    “Today’s event is a sign of cooperation, dialogue, gratitude on the part of the authorities, the Ukrainian people to our religious communities, organizations that are very highly trusted. During the difficult seven months of the war, we saw that your support, your kind pastoral word is very important for Ukrainians both in the rear and at the front,” Oleksandr Kornienko stressed, adding that this is the first time such an award has been conferred, but, he is sure, it will not be the last.

    The First Vice-Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament noted that the legislature’s cooperation with various religious organizations and communities is quite rich and deep. And this was especially evident during the war, when the authorities, together with the clergy, joined forces to support and calm people, while temples became a real refuge for Ukrainians.

    “Unfortunately, enemy missiles do not choose targets – we have many religious buildings destroyed. As a state, we will work on all possible projects for their restoration, and we will also work on improving legislation in the religious sphere. We must be together, work together, and listen to each other for the sake of the future of our country,” Oleksandr Kornienko concluded.

    In turn, the Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Oleksandr Tkachenko, also noted that today the pastoral word, the word to God, is especially important for our soldiers on the front lines: “Chaplains are very charged with their mission at the front, they really help our troops win.”

    His thoughts were shared by the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Hanna Maliar, who emphasized that in times of war, the service of chaplaincy is most needed by our defenders.

    “They are all men of steel, indomitable and courageous, but they are all human beings. And they also need support. It is also important for them to be listened to, to talk about senses that only a chaplain can talk about. This is something that no one else can offer. This is the kind of trust that can only be in a chaplain,” Hanna Maliar noted, once again thanking the chaplains for risking their lives on a par with the military and supporting our “biggest and most important human resource, our soldiers-defenders.”