Archbishop of Canterbury visits Ukraine

“The Archbishop (of Canterbury) is making the Advent visit to show solidarity with the people and churches of Ukraine as they face ongoing Russian bombardment and a profoundly difficult winter. While in Kyiv the Archbishop will meet with leaders of Ukraine’s churches to hear their accounts of what the country is going through – and understand how the Church of England can continue to support them.”

This concrete action of the Head of the Church of England, to show our Anglican Church solidarity with the victims of Soviet oppression in the Ukraine, merits our congratulation; that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, on behalf of us all in the Anglican Communion around the world, should initiate this radical openness to our sisters and brothers in distress.

While the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow continues to support President Putin’s relentless invasion of the Ukraine; the local Ukrainian Orthodox Patriarch (no longer subject to the authority of the Russian Patriarch) will no doubt be glad of this show of solidarity from Archbishop Justin, who is meeting with him and other Christian leaders in the Ukraine in this time of their suffering at the hands of their warring Russian neighbour.

One might hope that this visit will help President Putin to understand that, although he has the backing of the Russian Orthodox Church for his acts of cruelty towards the people of Ukraine; this is not replicated in the desire for peaceful negotiations of many other Christians around the world, who long for peace but not at any price!

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand



Lambeth Palace Press Release:
Archbishop of Canterbury begins visit to Ukraine  
For immediate release

The Archbishop of Canterbury arrived in Kyiv today for a three-day visit to the Ukrainian capital.
During his trip the Archbishop is also meeting Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced people, and seeing the work of churches and charities providing support to them. 
On his way to Ukraine yesterday, the Archbishop met with Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw during an afternoon spent in the Polish capital. He visited Ukrainian House, a support centre for migrants that has been turned into a crisis centre supporting Ukrainian refugees since the start of the Russian invasion. 
In Warsaw the Archbishop met the Apostolic Nuncio to Poland, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, to hear about the Roman Catholic Church’s extensive work supporting Ukrainian refugees in Poland. 
The Anglican Bishop in Europe, the Rt Revd Dr Robert Innes, is travelling with the Archbishop throughout the visit to Poland and Ukraine, which are both in the Church of England Diocese in Europe. There is a small but thriving community of Anglicans in both countries.
While in the Ukrainian capital Archbishop Justin and Bishop Robert will meet with members of Christ Church Kyiv, the Church of England church in Kyiv.
Arriving in Kyiv today, Archbishop Justin Welby said: “The people of Ukraine have shown extraordinary courage in the face of Russia’s illegal, unjust and brutal invasion. This visit is about showing solidarity with them as they face a profoundly difficult winter. I look forward to meeting with church leaders and local Christians in Kyiv, and learning how we can continue to support them amidst the ongoing devastation, loss and destruction of this war. 
“It was deeply moving to meet with Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw yesterday and hear their stories. In this season of Advent, we remember that Jesus was born into conflict and persecution – and became a refugee when his parents fled violence and persecution to seek safety in Egypt. 
“I urge Christians in the Church of England and around the world to keep praying for the people of Ukraine in this Advent season – along with all people caught up in conflicts around the world – and offering our solidarity and support in every way we can.”

Bishop Robert said: “I am very grateful to have this opportunity to travel to Ukraine to show my personal support for our brothers and sisters in Christ here at this difficult and painful time.

“It is inspiring and humbling to see how members of our chaplaincy here at Christ Church in Kyiv continue to carry out their work and serve God in the face of the traumas of war. Archbishop Justin and I are here to show solidarity with all the churches in Ukraine as we continue to pray for a peaceful and just end to the war.  I want to thank everyone here for making us so welcome. 
“It was also inspiring to see the work of our chaplaincy in Warsaw and the Ukraine House which we visited on our way to Kyiv. I thank them too for the incredible work they – and others around our diocese – have been doing to support refugees who have fled Ukraine since the conflict began.”

The Archbishop’s visit to Ukraine follows his visit to Mozambique last week, where he met with people who have been internally displaced and traumatised by attacks by ISIS-linked terrorists in the southern African nation.
ImagesAccess High Resolution Images (Dropbox – credit: Lambeth Palace)Archbishop Justin is pictured with members of the Anglican Community in Kyiv, near to the Golden Gate. Pictured are Marharyta Stafiichuk and her mother, Krystyna Laschenko, who is warden of Christ Church, the Anglican congregation in Kyiv.


See, also this article from the Ukrainian Catholic Church:

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand


Ukrainian archdiocese demands release of priests taken by Russian troops


Lviv, Ukraine — November 29, 2022

Two Ukrainian priests are shown in two separate photos

Father Bohdan Geleta, left, and Father Ivan Levitsky are seen in this undated screen grab. (CNS screen grab/courtesy of Ukrainian Catholic Church)

The Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Donetsk is demanding the release of two priests it said were arrested illegally in the Russian-occupied city of Berdyansk.

In a Nov. 25 statement, it said Fr. Ivan Levitsky, a hieromonk and rector of the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos, and Fr. Bohdan Geleta, who works at the church, were detained by Russian troops Nov. 16, and the church was illegally searched the following day. The priests’ relatives still do not know why the two men were arrested or where they are now.

“We demand the speedy release from custody and imprisonment of our priests … as well as ensuring their unhindered legitimate service to the spiritual needs of the faithful … living in the city of Berdyansk,” said the statement from the Eastern archdiocese.

“We ask for maximum dissemination of information in order to release the captured fathers. We appeal to the authorities and all people of goodwill to join the cause of the release of priests, as well as for increased prayer in this intention.

Russian media reported the priests were detained because Russian troops searching the church and rectory found explosives and plans for “subversive” and “partisan” activities directed against the troops. However, the archdiocesan statement noted that the priests already were in custody when the search was conducted, so they “cannot bear any responsibility for the weapons and ammunition allegedly found in (the buildings). This is a clear slander and a false accusation.”

“The deliberately fabricated false accusation of possession of weapons and explosives against clerics who had no intention of doing such a thing … while previously they were not accused of anything, attests to the intention to use further terror against the imprisoned fathers. It also attests that in the cities of southern Ukraine, the Russian administration operates according to the methods of the Bolshevik special services,” the statement said.

Earlier in the war, in Melitopol, a 74-year-old Orthodox priest was evicted from his home. In April Russian troops arrested the chairman of the council of the German Protestant community in Berdyansk.

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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