On February 8th in Kyiv the all-Ukraine forum “Ukraine30. The Coronavirus: challenges and answers” began its work. It is a setting for a societal dialogue on the pandemic and the fight to overcome it. The first day of the forum concluded with a special session: “A conversation among religious leaders of Ukraine,” during which speakers discussed the Church’s position on vaccination against COVID-19 and specifically how their particular religious community influences the faithful on this matter. The Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church was represented at the forum by Fr. Oleksa Petriv, the director of the Department for external relations of the UGCC.
During the session Fr. Oleksa Petriv reflected upon the experience of the UGCC in fighting the pandemic.
“The Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church has tried to adequately and conscientiously respond to the challenges placed before us. Thanks be to God and because of the structure of our Church in 27 countries and on 5 continents, we already had appropriate precedents through which our faithful in various corners of the world responded to such challenges. Therefore we already had a general picture. Even prior to the declaration of a quarantine in Ukraine we had already provided instructions and prescriptions how to adapt the spiritual life of the parishioners of our Church. Further instructions, responding to new demands continued in the same key. As a result, during the first weeks of the quarantine our Church established an anti-crisis committee which was, and continues to be, responsible for developing adequate responses to ongoing concerns. Many things were done to explain to the faithful of the UGCC, as well as persons of good will, how to conduct themselves,” stated the priest.
He further told those present, that His Beatitutde Svyatoslav, Father and Head of the UGCC made clear the position of our Church concerning vaccination at the end of January during the meeting of the All-Ukraine R
“Briefly this position can be characterized with three words: first, voluntary; second, and this is very important, accessible, and third, safe. Abbreviated: VAS. If the processes around vaccinations in Ukraine are conducted in conformity with these principles, our Church’s position is absolutely supportive,” affirmed the representative of the UGCC.
In addition, the director of the Department for external affairs of the UGCC also reminded the participants of the all-Ukraine forum that vaccinations which are now in the centre of attention are not a panacea.
“Vaccinations are only one tool in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, albeit a very serious one. We cannot forget about the other necessities of the battle to overcome the pandemic: wearing masks, washing hands, maintaining distance. And now everywhere vaccination is added, although it is just one step in the battle,” Fr. Oleksa reminded everyone.
“The next step (and this will be the last challenge before us) is the question of new cures and protocols of healing,” noted Fr. Oleksa, echoing the words of the Minister of External Affairs of Ukraine.
Department of Information of the UGCC