Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Great Britain has known as the women and men preventing in Ukraine’s conflict with Putin’s Russia ‘real-life heroes’ who’re protecting democracy, rule of regulation, and the rights of freedoms established and upheld because the founding of the United Nations.
“They are in our prayers and I know that the majority of them would not be seen as heroes, but would rather return to the life that they had enjoyed a month ago,” he stated. Like him, a lot of them would had been surprised by way of the occasions over those few weeks, however he reassured them that the Church was once doing the whole lot they may to assist them.
“I keep in regular contact with Patriarch Svyatoslav Shevchuk,” stated the Canadian-born bishop. “One of the clear messages he has given is that the bishops remain at their cathedrals, the priests continue to provide pastoral care. The Church gives hope, gives comfort and buries those who have become victims in this absolutely senseless war.”
Pope Francis’s response was once to open channels to Patriarch Shevchuk. Bishop Kenneth stated: “He had been a great supporter of Ukraine when Crimea was annexed being one of the first world leaders to call it a war, and to raise funds for Donbas residents to get them through the first winter. When the full invasion happened, the Pope made a very difficult journey to the Russian Embassy to appeal for peace.”
Here in the United Kingdom, Bishop Kenneth stated they had been running with faith-based communities and non-governmental organisations on a strategic plan on easy methods to obtain and welcome displaced those who can be arriving right here, making an attempt to make sure they have got protected houses.
Expressing the pointy realities of occasions, Bishop Kenneth stated that the sector order had modified. He stated: “The number of displaced people in three and a half weeks both internally in Ukraine and now reaching more than 4 million outside of Ukraine is unprecedented. The humanitarian crisis is nothing that we have experienced before in such a short time.”
As head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Great Britain, Bishop Kenneth stated: “We are seeking to do everything we can to prepare for these displaced people, who will be generally mothers with small children, having to leave their husbands behind to defend Ukraine.”
I requested him how those new arrivals would slot in taking into consideration that the Ukrainian neighborhood in Britain is made up of predominantly Catholics and Ukrainian audio system. He stated it was once a excellent query however was once no longer bothered by way of it.
“Our response as people of Great Britain whether they are Christian or non-Catholic, people of faith or not, this is human suffering, and that knows no ethnic, linguistic and religious boundaries,” he stated.
They had battled thru Covid and this was once any other problem. “Our clergy showed incredible dedication through ways we could never have imagined,” he added.
Bishop Kenneth, who has a workforce of 15 clergymen providing pastoral care, stated he have been very inspired by way of the beef up of the broader neighborhood in the United Kingdom, other folks of various faiths and nationalities. Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall had visited the Cathedral in London’s Mayfair district, and met parishioners and neighborhood leaders.
As patron of 5 humanitarian assist organisations, the Prince had pledged their beef up for Ukraine. What touched Bishop Kenneth maximum was once that the Prince listened to “our people’s concerns” and his parting shot was once ‘Slava Ukrayini’.
Bishop Kenneth expressed heat acclaim for the rallies organised by way of London Euromaidan for being non violent, and particularly the march organised ultimate Saturday by way of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, heeding President Zelensky’s name to Stand Up For Ukraine. “I participated and that was a very strong signal,” he stated.
Bishop Kenneth praised how the conflict in Ukraine had introduced other folks in combination. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church have come in combination in team spirit in instances of prayer and within the preparation of receiving displaced other folks from Ukraine.
“We had been running on a strategic plan on easy methods to obtain and welcome displaced other folks, making an attempt to make sure they have got protected houses. Whether they’re Christian or non-Catholic, other folks of religion or no longer, that is human struggling, and that is aware of no ethnic, linguistic and non secular barriers“
“The cooperation we have received from the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Organisation of Ukrainian Women, the scout movement Plast, Ukrainian Youth Association (SUM) and the Ukrainian Medical Association, all of these organisations that operate with volunteers have been amazing,” he stated. “I am a recent arrival myself, he added, “enthroned on 21 March, 2020.”
I requested Bishop Kenneth if he may take into account the place he was once when Russia introduced its full-scale invasion: “I used to be in Leeds into my 2nd day of our annual clergy retreat and I awoke early that morning and sadly as an alternative of claiming my prayers first, I grabbed my cell to have a look at the time to peer if I had overslept.
“As soon as I touched it, it was ablaze with information and messages from friends that we had been invaded. It was 4am and my heart just broke. I thought it was a bad dream, that this could not be happening. I then took the earliest train I could get to London and attended the first rally at 10 Downing Street.”
Bishop Kenneth admitted that an enormous portion of his time have been spent in isolation, because of COVID restrictions. “It is only in the last six to eight months that I have had the opportunity to visit and work with these incredible organisations that we have here in Great Britain,” he stated.
I requested if there have been a second in time the place he may loosen up and take his thoughts off the struggle. There was once a piano within the room and I prompt that in all probability he performed. A grin came to visit his face, the primary in what was once a sombre interview. He remarked that he didn’t play the piano. Bishop Hlib, his predecessor was once the piano participant.
I’d heard that the day earlier than a Russian normal have been killed, which in those instances of prime feelings, in particular taking into consideration how a lot loss of life and destruction have been reaped on our other folks, was once certainly a second of birthday celebration.
He paused to take into consideration what I had requested, after which replied: “I don’t think we can rejoice in the death and suffering of anyone, even our enemies. There can’t be any joy at the death of anybody because of the aims and goals of Kremlin’s leadership. That’s not who we are today.”