UKRAINE: UOC priests visit Ukrainian military on the front line

Clerics of the UOC handed over clothes, heaters, medicine and food to Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers and residents of frontline areas of the Donbas.

Union of Orthodox Journalists (23.02.2023) – The UOC priests visited hot spots in Kharkiv and Donetsk regions that are in the war zone as part of the “Mission of Mercy” project, reports the press service of the UOC Department for Social and Humanitarian Issues.

During the trip, UOC clergy and parishioners handed over humanitarian aid to residents of the settlements of Kurakhovo, Zarechye and Torske.

“The priests visited Kurakhovo, where refugees from Maryinka and Uhledar are hiding, and also handed over humanitarian aid to the Sviatogorsk Lavra, the Skete of St. John of Shanghai in Adamivka, to Izium, Slaviansk, Kramatorsk, Liman, Pokrovske and Selidovo,” the press service said.

The priests also visited three combat units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces fighting in the Bakhmut, Svatovsk and Uhledar directions. Ukrainian soldiers received trench candles, power supplies, warm clothes, medicines, food and stoves.

As reported, UOC aid was delivered to war-affected areas of the Donbas.

“Mission of Mercy”: UOC aid delivered to war-affected areas

Union of Orthodox Journalists (03.02.2023) – Priests of the Kyiv Eparchy delivered humanitarian aid to the most war-affected areas of Donetsk and Kharkiv regions for local residents and AFU military in the “Mission of Mercy” project of the UOC Department for Social and Humanitarian Affairs.

According to the Telegram channel “Church Helps”, within three days, from January 31 to February 2, 2023, the participants of the humanitarian mission visited the cities of Izium, Kupiansk, Sviatogorsk, the villages of Zarichne, Kamyanka, Dolyna, Torske, and Ivanchukivka. These settlements survived shelling and occupation, and fighting is still going on in some of them.

The priests brought more than a ton of humanitarian kits, 400 kg of salt and sugar each, sweets, clothing, painkillers and antipyretic medicines. AFU soldiers and the mobile hospital received canned meat, energy drinks and candy bars.

“Our spiritual Mission of Mercy continues. With the blessing of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry and the Synodal Department for Social and Humanitarian Affairs of the Kyiv Eparchy, we delivered a humanitarian cargo for those most affected by war,” said Archpriest Andriy Dvorovyi, Head of the Social Ministry and Charity Department of the Kyiv Eparchy of the UOC. “The Scripture says it is ‘more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35). True riches are measured not by what you have accumulated and spent on yourself, but by how much you have given. What we have accumulated in heaven is a true treasure. Hurry up to do good.”

As reported, UOC priests from the frontline towns of Siversk and Chasiv Yar delivered and distributed humanitarian aid collected in Kyiv and Boryspil eparchies to their fellow countrymen under shelling.

Humanitarian assistance of the Kyiv Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church/ Moscow Patriarchate (UOC/MP) to Ukrainian civilians and soldiers

On 14 December 2022, Metropolitan Onuphrius of Kyiv and All Ukraine held the annual diocesan meeting of the clergy of the Kyiv Diocese during which figures were publicized about their humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian civilians in regions hit by the war:

Almost 600 people who were forced to leave their homes in the zone of active hostilities received shelter in the parishes of the Kyiv Diocese. In addition, 263,000 servings of hot lunches, more than 15 tons of products and food kits, medicines were distributed, and one million hryvnias were collected.

Our clergy helped evacuate people. Thus, Archpriest Borys Kovalchuk, abbot of the Church of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki, village of Pylypovychi, Borodyan District, took more than one and a half thousand people out of shelling.

For the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 4 cars and funds in the amount of more than 240 thousand hryvnias were transferred from the Kyiv diocese. 31 tons of food products and medicines worth more than 40 thousand hryvnias were collected. Ammunition worth almost 400,000 hryvnias was purchased. 200 kilograms of wax and paraffin for the production of so-called trench candles were also handed over.

Through the joint efforts of the clergy and faithful of the Kyiv Diocese, humanitarian aid is constantly organized and delivered to other dioceses to victims of hostilities, as well as to the de-occupied territories of Kherson Oblast, Kharkiv Oblast, Donetsk Oblast and other liberated regions.

In particular, seven trips were made to the Holy Assumption Lavra, two to Liman. 100 tons of coal, 32,000 liters of fuel, 40 tons of other cargo, including food products for long-term storage, clothes and mattresses, etc., were transferred to Lavra. 6 tons of coal, 6 generators and foodstuffs were transferred to Lyman and Kherson. Such assistance continues to be provided.

It should be noted that the teachers and students of the Kyiv Theological Schools, as well as the brothers of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the Ionyn Monastery, have repeatedly participated in the formation of a blood bank for victims of military operations and wounded defenders of Ukraine.

On October 14, the Day of Defenders of Ukraine, as well as on December 6, the Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the clergy of the capital visited wounded servicemen in Kyiv hospitals and congratulated them on the holiday and handed over help for treatment.

In general, the Kyiv Diocese together with the department of social work and charity provided assistance this year:

– funds in the amount of one and a half million hryvnias;

– food products and hygiene products – more than 125 tons;

– food sets – 1300 pieces;

– medicines in the amount of 140 thousand hryvnias;

-clothing – 47 tons;

– ammunition for the military in the amount of 400 thousand hryvnias;

– cars for the Armed Forces and territorial defense – 4 pieces.

Of course, today we can only make interim summaries of social work, because the war is still going on. I thank all of you, and through you, your parishioners, volunteers and benefactors – everyone who, with their own strength and funds, sacrifices themselves, joins the cause of charity, the protection of our Motherland. Good deeds are the only wealth that everyone will take with them into eternity and that will determine the future fate of the soul. We pray that these good deeds become a guarantee of eternal life with God.   

Exchange rate: 1 EUR = 40 hryvnias

HRWF Comment

The UOC has distanced itself from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) due to the support of Patriarch Kirill to Putin’s war on Ukraine. It has recently revised its statutes to strengthen its complete autonomy and independence from Moscow. The UOC has no representative in the ROC in Moscow but it has not seceded from it and it has hereby preserved its canonical status. A bill has been tabled at the Parliament to ban it. As of today, President Zelensky has not taken any position about the draft law. See the analysis of Dr Aaron Rhodes on this issue.

UOC humanitarian mission delivered aid to residents of Kharkiv and Donetsk regions. Photo: “Church Helps” TG channel

Further reading about FORB in Ukraine on HRWF website