Interview with the Head of the Catholic Church in Ukraine Reveals that Pope Francis Called Him Several Times and Saying "... that he will do everything possible to stop the war."

"Hatred dries up the soul, let's draw strength from love": Interview of His Beatitude Sviatoslav for Radio NV
Saturday, March 12, 2022, 
His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Father and Head of the UGCC, spoke with Oleksiy Tarasov on Radio NV on March 11, 2022, about the role of the Church in what is happening in Ukraine.

- A day ago you published a text in which you assure that diplomacy can help in this war. Do you really believe that diplomacy will win? In conversations with various experts on our air, it was said that the only way to defeat the horde is military. What do you think?
- First of all, I believe that we will win! I believe in the victory of Ukraine, looking at how we, Ukrainians, experience the tragedy of war, how we unite and believe that God is with us, the unjust victim of the aggressor. I believe we will win! We must use all means to win. When it comes to the Church, it is clear that I cannot comment only on the armed victory. Today the Church prays, tries to build relationships and is at the forefront of the diplomatic component. We are also trying to act, to serve our people in humanitarian terms. The Church is essentially the word. Diplomacy is also a service of the word, perhaps in a slightly different way this service is performed. After the armed phase, there will definitely be a negotiation phase. The war implies the need to sit down at the negotiating table, which is clear to everyone. Even the fact that today the aggressor is not ready to listen to the Ukrainian side does not mean that diplomacy will not be the crown of our victory. We must work in this direction, have proposals, involve all channels of negotiations and relations for the benefit of our state.
- We understand that the Church cannot call on Ukrainians to take up arms. It is also clear that the Church has other functions and narratives. Yesterday was the stage of diplomatic talks, when Kuleb and Lavrov met in Turkey. We heard Lavrov's rhetoric. How do you assess such statements by the aggressor?
- As someone who really feels how people are going through events, because we have direct contact with our faithful in Mariupol, I understand that this is a hybrid war, it is being waged at the level of lies and great misinformation.
We inform the world about the truth. The world knows the truth, so no lies from the aggressor will pass. He will have to acknowledge the reality before the eyes of the whole world.
The interpretation of Russia's aggressive actions that we heard from Lavrov shows that Russia is living in untruth and spreading misconceptions around the world. Instead, we Christians are called to bear witness to the truth. We do it and we will do it. And we already feel that the truth is winning, that it has its power, and we must proclaim it to the whole world.
- What role can the Vatican play in this war? Does the Vatican have the leverage to help Ukraine? What do you think they can be?
- Undoubtedly, the Vatican, as a subject of international law, has such levers. Vatican diplomacy is one of the oldest in the world. It was from her that European diplomacy was born. I have spoken to Pope Francis several times these days, and he has assured me that he will do everything possible to stop the war.
We see that there are some attempts. You mentioned the talks in Turkey. In addition, a few days ago, talks took place between Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin and Lavrov.
We know that Cardinal Parolin came out of this conversation very confused. He felt that the Russian side was not ready for honest talks. Moreover, the cardinal claimed that Lavrov was repeating the learned mantras of Russian propaganda. 
But the Vatican is trying to engage. The Holy See has its ambassador to Russia, the nuncio in Ukraine and is beginning to take action at its level. The fact that we have not yet succeeded does not mean that diplomacy is powerless or unnecessary. The Apostolic See does use the levers it has in its hands.
Let me also remind you that these days two personal envoys of Pope Francis arrived in Ukraine for humanitarian purposes. These are Cardinals Konrad Krajewski and Michael Czerny. The first was in Lviv yesterday, and Cardinal Cherny arrived in Hungary and was in Transcarpathia. Today he heads another structure of the Roman Curia, which deals with the issue of comprehensive integrated development of the human personality. It was a gesture of special attention and support from the Pope for Ukraine in terms of humanitarian action, as a large number of refugees cross the borders of neighboring countries, including Poland and Hungary. Here, the Vatican mobilizes all the humanitarian resources that the Catholic Church has in Europe to receive and serve those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
- If I'm not mistaken, on March 1 you talked about a possible air strike on Sofia Kyivska. What is the level of threat to shrines in Ukraine?
- We received such information from our government agencies. It was requested that a voice be raised before the world community to prevent this tragedy. We see that this war is being waged primarily against the civilian population. In particular, yesterday the Minister of Defense Reznikov said that more civilian Ukrainians died than the military. This is a blatant fact, which shows that the aggressor completely violates the norms of warfare, humanitarian law. Unfortunately, our shrines, temples, and clergy are the first victims of the war. The aggressor does not look at whether it is a priest, a monk, a nun, a woman or a child. We see how shrines are being destroyed, as well as the ROC and UOC-MP. I think St. Sophia is in danger. Any bombing of the center of Kyiv would be very dangerous for this unique temple, for the mosaics of the XI century. We raised a strong voice against such possible barbarism. We hope that by joint efforts, in particular thanks to information protection, St. Sophia will stand up during this barbaric invasion.
- Among Putin's declared goals is an open goal - the destruction of the PCU. He does not perceive the PCU, as well as Ukraine as a state. Is something threatening the UGCC in Ukraine?
- Obviously, we are on the list just like our brothers from the PCU. We know from history that whenever Russia conquered our lands, the UGCC was systematically destroyed. This was the case during the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. God forbid it happens now. But we do not pay attention to this, because we have the experience of death and resurrection, especially in the twentieth century. Our Church survived Stalin's repressions and emerged victorious. It was legalized by the Soviet authorities. After all, Gorbachev allowed the registration of communities, and this was a sign that the Church had won. Today we are aware of the threat posed by the Russian war of aggression, but on the other hand, we try not to succumb to feelings of fear and panic. We try to serve our people in the way we can. We have structures throughout Ukraine and around the world. Today our communities are in Western Europe, North America, Brazil, Argentina, Australia. Our diaspora hears the word from Ukraine every day, their hearts beat with us in unison and speak through the collected humanitarian aid to Ukraine in the countries where they live. In this way, we are fighting together for our State and approaching the day of our victory.
- How do you assess the role of the ROC in this war? After all, Patriarch Kirill broadcasts propaganda messages on Russian television, in fact, blesses the murder. Is this a crime? Is the ROC an accomplice to the crime?
At one time, history itself will judge such events. At the same time, I would like to state that the UOC-MP in Ukraine supports our statehood, we see clear messages given by His Beatitude Onufriy.
I am impressed by the position of the foreign ROC, its structures in Europe, which evaluate the war in a completely different way. In particular, I was impressed by the position of the representatives of the Munich hierarchy, who condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine and appealed to their faithful Russians to accept refugees from Ukraine. They organize fundraising for our refugees to help us.
We see that the truth is being manipulated by Russia itself, the Church is being used for its military propaganda. I think this is unacceptable. But the whole free world, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant, strongly opposes this position. I know that dozens of letters have been written to Kirill demanding an immediate end to the war.
- Can this lead to a split, to the fact that something will happen to the ROC?
"Let's see." It is clear that the one who deceives makes divisions. We know that the father of lies is the devil. The meaning of the word "devil" is one who divides, splits. I do not want to comment on the internal affairs of the ROC, but I want to thank all those, even Orthodox Russians, who are in solidarity with Ukraine today.
- Can you humanly explain how the Russians degraded to the point that they had their own swastika? The letter Z, own Eugene, people line up in the letter Z. What can be the explanation? The nation, which claims to have been at the forefront of the fight against the Nazis, has its own swastika ...
- Any war is a crime. This is stated by all Christians, regardless of denomination. Whoever tries to involve the younger generation in this crime hurts their souls. As an optimist, I believe that there are people with common sense among Russians. They may not have the right level of freedom to say so. But we see that there are anti-war protests that are severely punished. People come out and oppose the propaganda. I believe that there are antibodies in the body of the Russian people. Public policy will not succeed. I am sorry that such a tragedy happened. I think that every participant in this bloodshed, who justifies or spreads it, will answer in due time to the history of his people and to the face of God.
- Russia has always declared that one of the pillars of the people is spirituality. Can we trace how this spirituality mutated to the fact that now the same people can kill people in a neighboring country that has done nothing to them?
- If someone says that he is motivated to kill spirituality, it is degenerate spirituality. It takes time to appreciate all this. We don't have it, people die every day. This future awareness on the part of the Russians is paid for by the blood of Ukrainians. We must all do our best to stop this madness immediately. Then we will think, communicate, repent, condemn the criminals who led to this. First of all, we need to immediately stop the mass killings of civilians in Ukraine.
- Today it is known that the social networks "Facebook" and "Twitter" allowed users to use hate speech against Putin and the Russians. How does the Church feel about the fact that millions of people want Putin to die and the Russians to go to hell?
- The church has never approved of curses and slander. It hurts to read certain inscriptions, to hear hate speech. This cannot be the norm of our speech or our behavior. I am convinced that hatred will not produce anything good. Love for one's homeland can give birth to heroes who will be able to defeat the enemy. When we hate, we are already defeated by our enemy. Let us not succumb to the emotions of gossip, hate speech. We love our family, because it will give us the strength to win. Hatred dries up the soul, takes away our strength, and love, on the contrary, revives us, replenishes our capabilities and gives us a chance to win.
- Advise, please, how not to hate the Russians who came to us on tanks? Is there any practical advice on how to turn hatred into love or understanding? ..
- I think that first of all we need to understand the motivation of our behavior. We stand for the truth, we protect the dearest. This is our healthy true motivation. When we start from what is ours and not someone else's, it will be easier for us to experience positively. It may be difficult to talk about something positive today, but let's draw strength from love, not hatred.


gjmboise said…
"... he will do everything possible to stop the war." Does this include the consecration of Russia to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart in union with all the Bishops of the world?

Seems like such a small price to pay for peace and to stop Russia from spreading her errors! For those who believe JPII already did this, it seems like Russia is continuing to spread her errors, no? Either JPII did NOT complete the consecration as Our Lady requested, or, she lied! And, since she is unable to lie, that leaves only one conclusion. It has NOT been done!

Make like Nike, Francis, just Do It!