"A Christian’s duty is to defend your country in military conflict," Patriarch Sviatoslav addressed young people in Zarvanytsia

July 21, 2014

This year the Youth Pilgrimage to Zarvanytsya began on July 19, 2014. Among the guests of Zarvanytsya were His Beatitude Patriarch Sviatoslav and all of the members of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC. As traditionally, there was a procession of pilgrims carrying candles from the parish church to the place of the miraculous apparition of Blessed Virgin Mary in Zarvanytsya. Bishops, priests and faithful prayed for Our Lady’s intercession and protection of Ukraine and the whole world.

In conversation with Patriarch Sviatoslav the young pilgrims asked what is more responsible and what is a greater expression of love - to fight for Ukraine or to live for your family?

The Patriarch stated, that it is a tragic choice to have to choose to live for Ukraine or to die for Ukraine. He said: “I have never desired this dilemma for any of you, or for the country as a whole. I wish that everyone would live for Ukraine. We, therefore, ask Our Lord for peace, so that twenty year old men would live for their loved ones and for their children. But we must also give respect to those who are ready to give their lives for their country. All of them we call – heroes.”

“In a military conflict, a Christian has the right and responsibility to defend his country and the people in a way proportionate to the attack,” said Patriarch Sviatoslav. “It is a huge tragedy that in some instances the aggressors cannot be stopped other than by resorting to the use of arms. The one who defends his country has the right to armed resistance. It is not correct to talk about the right to kill, but rather, the right to defend. We are a peaceful nation and in the present situation we are not the aggressors, but we have a sacred right and duty to defend our country.”


Information Department of the UGCC

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