Ukrainian soldiers with the 55th Separate Artillery Brigade fire a Caesar self-propelled howitzer toward Russian troops near the town of Avdiivka in Ukraine's Donetsk region May 31, 2023, amid Russia's ongoing attack on the country. OSV News photo/Viacheslav Ratynskyi, Reuters

CCCB, Christian churches launch appeal for Ukraine peace

  • February 22, 2024

Canada’s Catholic bishops have joined Christian counterparts in marking the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with an invitation for all to join in praying for peace. 

In a pastoral letter released Feb. 21, three days before the Feb. 24 anniversary of Russia’s full-scale attack on its neighbour, national representatives of the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant communities, along with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the World Evangelical Alliance’s Peace and Reconciliation Network and the Canadian Council of Churches, have signed a pastoral letter calling for prayers for peace.

The letter says upon the second anniversary of the invasion — and 10 years since Russia’s incursion into eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea — “the need and desire for peace have become more and more evident.”

“Without in any way minimizing or ignoring the suffering and sorrow caused by war and violence in other areas of the world, we stand together in inviting Christians and all people of good will to prayerfully consider how we are all called, and might contribute to, the achievement of peace in Ukraine,” the letter reads.

The letter, endorsed by 45 leaders, identifies six ways to foster peace: pray; support for Ukrainian refugees; urging diplomatic steps towards a just and sustainable peace; cooperation in humanitarian support; remembrance of Feb. 24, 2022; and hope for reconciliation. Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ president Bishop William McGrattan is among the signatories.

The massive human suffering brought on by Russia’s invasion, consequences around the world, especially the Global South with the difficulty in accessing Ukrainian agricultural goods, and the forced removal of children from their families and homes are but some of the tragedies this war has brought, the letter notes. It calls for an immediate cessation of the war.

“We call upon the leaders of the Russian Federation to terminate this war, to cease this unjust aggression, end the violence being perpetrated against Ukraine and its people and to recall their military forces from within the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine — including Crimea — immediately.”

The letter concludes: “We offer our prayers that the sufferings and innocent loss of life caused by this war will be brought to a swift end. We pray that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will be with all those who are suffering, and with us, as we wait in hopeful expectation.”

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