After months of violent protests, Ukrainians are facing a long road back to peace. Christianity Today reports on Christians in Ukraine who are trying to make sense of the turmoil and while being a support for their fellow citizens.
Stepan Sus of the Centre for Military Chaplaincy in Lviv, Western Ukraine, says the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church has been central in “trying to console and support those who were protesting.”
"Overall Ukraine is going through an overhaul of mentality – a process of shedding of the Soviet way of thinking and the realization of who we really are, of our own European identity and of our own right to live in a free and prosperous country," Sus said.
The Church in Ukraine has been supportive protestors, but given assistance to anyone in need, administering sacraments, giving moral support and collecting donations from victims on both sides of the violence. Now, priests are leading funerals and memorial services.
Alla Gedz, of Christ Church, Kiev, described the aftermath of the protests. "The country is full of funerals. A lot of people went out in the streets to support families who have lost their children and beloved ones,” she said.
Their sorrow, however, has also been punctuated by stories of hope, of people giving what they can, and of people finding solace in faith.
"As members of the Catholic Church we have seen a lot of conversions in people who stopped going to Church a long time ago,” Sus said. “We have seen repentance and the newly rekindled faith."
On February 21, protestors and the presidential office reached a deal to end the crisis. President Yanukovych was dismissed by parliament and has since fled Kiev. A nationwide manhunt is underway for him on charges of “mass murder of peaceful civilians,” reports the BBC.
Publication Date: February 25, 2014.