Ukrainian patriots remain in rebel-held territory


Religiia v Ukraine, 11 April 2016


Priests of the UPTs of the Kiev patriarchate continue to minister in rebel-held territory of the Donbass and to work there with humanitarian missions, Archbishop of Donetsk and Mariupol Sergei declared live on the radio program "Donbass. Realiia", Religiia v Ukraine reports, citing the UPTsKP website.


The hierarch said that he himself personally cannot visit the rebel-held territory, including his native Donetsk, but clergymen, volunteers, and parishioners remain there, who along with politicians are engaged in humanitarian activity.


"Our duty is to act so that people there do not feel abandoned. And every day we send foodstuffs, medicines, and all necessities. During a week we will help from 300 to 600 people on that territory. These are both foodstuffs and expensive medicines," the clergyman explained.


He said that now on the territory of Donetsk, Starobeshevo, and Telmanovo, 36 UPTsKP parishes remain. However many priests have left, since they took part in pro-Ukrainian activity for which they were subjected to persecution by local separatists.


Vladyka Sergei himself thinks that what is happening in the Donbass is the consequence of lack of spirituality. "The Scriptures say that if a person ceases to thank God for small gifts, great ones will also be removed. For example: we built an enormous number of cathedrals, churches, and monasteries in Donetsk, and people did not attend them. People attended small chapels where old priests served. . . . Nowadays many people pick up such rhetoric that when they are asked in Donetsk: who are you for, for 'Ukrainians' or for 'Donetsk.'?, people are afraid to say something and they say that they just want for the war to end and for children not to perish. And it is said that only 'pro-Muscovites' remain in the occupied territory. I say: Don't believe it. There are very many cultured, intelligent people, patriots, who for one reason or another were not able to depart," the archbishop said. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 April 2016)

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