Posted by: Fr Chris | January 18, 2014

Movement in Ukraine!

At this time of the Church year, the daily greeting is “Glory to Jesus Christ/ Slava Isusu Christu” and glory to Him is most certainly due for an abrupt change in Ukraine regarding the threatened assault on the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

The Ministry of Culture backed off on its threat of de-registration after a firestorm of protest from inside Ukraine and foreign states. Suddenly the hierarchy received a nice letter. The president stepped in saying that any church could hold services anywhere on January 15, and the ministry backed off on January 17. But a Greek Catholic priest will go before a judge on January 23 on trumped-up traffic charges that are very much like the Soviet days:

He allegedly refused to stop for a policeman as part of a pro-Maidan convoy in a town where he was not present, but instead he was dropping off passengers at Maidan protests in Kiev. The Ukrainian Catholic University, which has been very active in supporting the EuroMaidan protests, will be defending him. This same school has been experiencing all kinds of threats as a result of its faculty’s activities.

Euromaidan supporters on 18 January, 2014, defending the square against a planned attack by government-supported “opponents” who support the new laws “For A Healthy Ukraine” that move strongly towards a dictatorship, as scholar  Timothy Snyder bemoans:

In addition to “gutting democracy in Ukraine” with the laws passed in the Rada, now foreign NGOs face threats in Ukraine also, like the one in Russia, whereby these NGOs – which do everything from supporting AIDS clinics, schools, religious organizations, and democracy projects – will now be considered foreign agents, in the name of “protecting the public”

So, some progress for the Church, none for democracy and basic rights for Ukrainian citizens. Keep up the prayers! And here is a man praying on Maidan square in a Greek Catholic -sponsored tent chapel. Please God, grant that freedom will rule there.

Protesters pray in a tent-chapel on Independence Square, Kyiv, January 6, 2014

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