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Volodymyr Zelenskyy (CNS/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service handout via Reuters)

Ukraine’s Latin Rite Catholic Bishops, along with representatives of the nation’s Protestant communities, met with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday at a meeting organised by the Ukrainian Bible Society. Source: Vatican News. 

Opening the meeting, Mr Zelenskyy offered Easter greetings to the religious leaders and expressed his hope for victory over the Russian forces occupying parts of Ukraine. That victory, he said, “will definitely be achieved thanks to our warriors, our people, and your sincere prayers”.

The president also thanked them for their pastoral care of the people, and in particular expressed gratitude for the service of military chaplains.

For their part, the Catholic bishops explained the challenges faced by chaplains in their ministry and highlighted concerns about the possibility of mobilising clergy to serve as soldiers.

“We emphasised that if parish priests or those responsible for the humanitarian sector, including Caritas and all its units, are mobilised, there will be big problems,” said Bishop Vitaliy Kryvytskyy, the head of the Commission of Church-State Relations for the country’s Latin-Rite Bishops. 

The bishops also raised issues concerning ecclesial properties owned by the state and leased to the Church for religious purposes; a recent law requires the Churches to pay market rates on those properties. 

The representatives of the Protestant communities emphasised the importance of religious freedom in Ukraine, especially in relations with co-religionists outside of Ukraine. They also raised the possibility of organising “prayer breakfasts” with political leaders, an idea supported by Mr Zelenskyy. 

Finally, the Ukrainian president urged the religious leaders to use their international contacts and connections to further spread truthful information about Ukraine and the crimes of the Russians.

“After all, the Church has a great influence on society, on state leaders,” he said. “And so this is a very important signal for us regarding the support of our partners.” 


Ukraine’s president meets Christian leaders (By Christopher Wells, Vatican News)