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Head of Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church sends New Year message of peace

papa x ucrainaThe Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church releases a message to mark the New Year, noting that as we leave a year in which we were forced to reduce social contact, we must enter the new one prioritising building human relationships.

By Vatican News staff writer

2020, which was “full of special experiences, difficulties and challenges, but also special blessings, discoveries and joy” has come to an end. This message, from the Primate of the Ukrainian-Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, came in a video released on the Church’s website to wish all Ukrainians a happy new year.

In his video message, the Primate continued saying that this year we experienced and learned a lot for the first time. "We have realized that human life is priceless, and human health cannot be valued by any money, economic benefits or political expediency."

What is happening in Ukraine?

An armed conflict has been raging on in Eastern Ukraine since 2014. The six-year conflict in the Donbas region – between the Ukrainian government and Russian-backed forces - has seen more than 13,000 people killed; 30,000 wounded; and almost 1,500,000 Ukrainians internally displaced.

Despite international efforts to stop the fighting, numerous ceasefires, and the swearing in of a new President in Ukraine in 2019, an end to the conflict is still not in sight.

Pope Francis and aid to Ukraine

During his pontificate, Pope Francis has often expressed his concern for Ukraine and offered aid to the country. Notably, In 2016, Pope Francis asked Catholic parishes in Europe to take up a special collection for humanitarian support in Ukraine. A total of 12 million euros were collected, to which Pope Francis then added 6 million of his own to the cause.

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