Statement by the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops of the United States in Response to the Russian Annexation Attempt of Four Regions of Ukraine – Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia
In the eyes of the world, after a farcical series of pseudo referendums, Russian President Putin, violating all the principles of international law, announced the annexation of four regions of Ukraine. Each of these regions is roughly the size of Massachusetts, and together they make up 15% of Ukraine’s territory, which before 2014 was home to 8.5 million Ukrainians.
We wholeheartedly and unconditionally condemn this escalation and codification of brutal Russian aggression and call on all people of good will to confirm and amplify their active spiritual and material solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Russian imperialist colonialism, accompanied by horrific war crimes, the murder of tens of thousands of innocent civilians and the massive destruction of villages, towns and cities, enslaves not only the general population but also its churches and religious communities. . The future of Ukrainian Orthodox parishes, Eastern and Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim churches, and other communities of faith that stand together, as they have done in unison, for truth and justice will be doomed. to death if these occupied territories of the Ukrainian state are not liberated.
Ukrainians who suffered repeated genocidal waves in the 20th century with 15 million deaths caused by world wars and totalitarian regimes – both Soviet and Nazi – have no illusions about the consequences of the Russian occupation. Each time in the 18th, 19th, 20th or 21st centuries that a Russian regime – imperialist, Soviet or Putinist – annexes Ukrainian territory, the life of Ukrainian Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox is stifled. It may take time, or it may be quick. The result is always the same. All faiths are suffering along with the general population. The discovery of Russian atrocities in Bucha, Irpin and, more recently, Izyum laid bare Russian genocidal intentions. It is incumbent on the free world to help the valiant Ukrainians who are showing inspiring courage to reject and reverse these heinous acts of state terrorism and neo-colonial greed.
Russia has 11 time zones. In its imperial embrace, it envelops some 120 ethnic groups and nations. How much more can Russia consume? How much additional human suffering will this colonialism cause? Russia is 28 times larger than Ukraine. With your help, he won’t get a 29th serving. African Americans will never again be slaves. Americans and Canadians will not be colonial subjects of Britain. Algeria and the Ivory Coast will never again be a colony of France. The Democratic Republic of the Congo will never be a satellite of Belgium, Mexico and Argentina of Spain and Brazil of Portugal. 31 years ago, with an overwhelming 90% vote, Ukrainians decided they would not be Russia’s colonial slaves. Now they are defending their God-given freedom and dignity with their own lives.
It is time to renew and strengthen our prayer, advocacy and assistance to support the defense of democracy and biblical truth in Ukraine and around the world. We stand with David against the claims of Goliath. We are at the side of Christ Crucified who has always been close to the poor and the marginalized. Who became a victim to save the victims of sin. We hope that the victims will not be abandoned by the powerful of the world and that God’s truth will prevail.
Ukraine, which in 1994 was the first country to unilaterally renounce its nuclear arsenal, is today threatened with nuclear weapons by the country which, by the Budapest Memorandum, guaranteed independence and territorial integrity from Ukraine. America was a signatory to this guarantee. The sacrifice of the Ukrainians, their prophetic option for peace commands our solidarity.
Ukraine’s position and testimony to peace are undeniable. Today, he needs the help of the world to resist an unprovoked invasion. We encourage all people of good will to do their part.
Pray to the merciful Lord, lawyer for the defense of the innocent, and to help generously the millions of victims.
We believe in God!
+ Borys Gudziak
Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians
Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States
+ Paul Chomnycky, OSBM
+ Benedict Aleksiychuk
Church of St. Nicholas in Chicago
+ Bohdan J. Danylo
Bishop of Saint Josaphat in Parma
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia