From the UOC-USA: Human Dignity and the Basic Rights of Freedom Must be Preserved

Council of Bishops of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA

Human Dignity and the Basic Rights of Freedom Must be Preserved 

UK-FlagBeloved brothers and sisters in Christ!

It has been only a few weeks, and most recently just two days since the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA expressed its concern over the past several months of political uncertainty in Ukraine, the ancestral homeland for so many of Ukrainian Christians in the United States of America and throughout the globe.

However, today we are faced with a totally new reality. It is not longer the peaceful protest on the main street of Kyiv that draws attention of the world community – but it is an image of armed conflict that devastates the Ukrainian community (and greater world community). It is no longer about the demands of opposition and the answers of the government officials that we must examine and make logical conclusions. But now – it is an image of total abuse of human dignity and the basic rights of freedom that the Ukrainian community faces as the events of political instability continue to develop.

We solemnly remind that the way to resolve conflict questions must be that of diplomacy and dialogue.  What is needed is courage to go beyond the surface of the conflict and to consider others in their deepest dignity, so that unity will prevail over conflict and it will be possible to build communion amid disagreement. The political demagoguery and brutality and abuse must cease immediately. The video and photo images that have surfaced in the social media underline the basic disrespect to the sacred dignity of human body and freedom.

In light of these concerns, we remind everyone that every human person bears a God-given dignity; respect for that dignity must always be present. The Church also is careful to point out that abuse and all kinds of physical and moral torture are illegal, prohibited under international laws. We ask the leaders of Ukrainian government to immediately take appropriate actions towards the reestablishment of the peaceful and dignified ability for Ukraine’s citizens to express their voices.

We share the concern of lawmakers and citizens for the safety of Ukrainian protestors and also of police and military personnel in these times of great uncertainty and danger. In the face of this perilous climate, the Ukrainian nation must not embrace a morality based on an attitude that “desperate times call for desperate measures” or “the end justifies the means.” In this regard, the dialogue must prevail and become a positive sign of peace, and we express our hope that both – the government officials and leaders of Ukrainian opposition will resolve, with the support of the international community, to take courageous decisions aimed at finding a just and lasting solution to a conflict which urgently needs to end.

Remember, the country’s democratic future will depend on dialogue and the ability to listen to voice of Ukrainian citizens. It is essential that logic and calm prevail. No physical force will ever succeed in eliminating the free will and the voice of the citizens! All the leaders and citizens of the Ukrainian nation must, as Saint Paul reminds us, clothe themselves in “heartfelt mercy, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.” (Col. 3:12)

With prayers for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine,

Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Locum Tenens of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora

Bishop of the Western Eparchy and President Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA