Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The incredible has happen to 298 citizens of the Netherlands and so many other countries, including Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Philippines, New Zealand, Canada, the United States of America.
The terrorist attack on the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 has violently ended the promising, creative, fruitful lives of hundreds of innocent people. Their God-given dignity has been violated in the ultimate way: their life was destroyed. Then, even after death, they were further demeaned.
On behalf of all of the faithful of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic diocese in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Switzerland, and in the name of all Ukrainians in these lands, I express our heartfelt condolences and spiritual solidarity.
In these days in our churches we conduct memorial services for the innocent victims. As the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko has said: We, Ukrainians, have been shedding tears for the last half year because of the violence, terrorism, and war in our country; today we shed them with you. We thought we could not have more tears, but we do, and our tears and prayer is with you.
We are moved by the dignity of the response of your governments, Churches, religious communities, civil societies, and your citizens, especially the families of the victims. May the unity and integrity of the Dutch people and all peoples and persons who bear the burden of this heinous crime serve to inspire the world in this time of tragedy and profound moral confusion and paralysis.
The grief and wartime anxiety of the Ukrainian people is exacerbated by the criminal inhumanity that occurred in our skies and on our land. We are at once tormented by the violence and shamed by the disgraceful treatment of your dearly departed. It is hard to comment on our powerlessness in the face of enduring brutality. We ask forgiveness for what we could not do. At this time we beseech the Lord for the wisdom and fortitude to understand and act according to God’s will.
For many months the Ukrainian people have done what they can to confront naked evil with peaceful demonstrations, nights vigils in the bitter cold of winter, and unceasing prayer in the squares of Ukraine and in many countries of the world. They have been beaten, tortured, and shot before the cameras of the world. Ukraine has lost hundreds of citizens, the best of the nation. We have lost territory. At a great price Ukrainians have, however, gained dignity and unity. We are tormented by the authoritarian violence brought to our land that has been our scourge, which now has also become your terrible suffering. Today, this suffering brings us together and gives us common cause.
May we unite in spirit and deed to confront the evil besetting Europe and the world. We recommit ourselves to prayer, witness, and dialog with all people of good will. Let us encourage each other with the promise of the Gospel that evil will be overcome and that in God we will find and live the truth.
May the memory of the innocent victims be eternal!
Вічная Пам’ять! Eternal Memory !
Yours in the Lord,
Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Volodymyr the Great for Ukrainian Greek-Catholics
in France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Switzerland
Head of the Department of External Church Relations of the
Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church