A statement from Archbishop Soroka of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia on the ongoing protests in the Ukraine, and the threats to religious freedom being leveled there:
The hierarchy, clergy, religious and faithful of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States of America express our complete confidence and support for our Patriarch Sviatoslav, Reverend Hierarchs, Clergy, Religious and Faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine in their response of offering much needed pastoral care for the brave Ukrainian citizens voicing their opposition to the suppression of freedoms in today’s society in Ukraine. Their response of love and understanding and nurture recalls for all the compassion which Jesus showed for the oppressed.
We share the amazement of the civilized world in observing the harsh and brutal responses of the
Ukrainian government to our Church and to people expressing their concerns for the welfare of their neighbors and their nation. The reports of threats of intimidation by government officials as to the legitimacy of this Church of Martyrdom, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, cause all of us great concern for the welfare of all people of Ukraine, and particularly for all faiths and religious communities.
We call upon our brothers and sisters of all faiths in the USA to support those who show great
courage in opposing those who would want to restrict the expression of religious and other basic human freedoms in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church only recently emerged from the oppressive circumstances it endured for over fifty years under Soviet communism, with the hope and commitment of freely celebrating our faith in a democratic nation. Unfortunately, persons with oppressive and repressive ideologies continue to exercise an inordinate control amidst a people simply desiring to live freely and to express their faith without fear of retribution and assimilation into one dominant faith. Such persons in authority pose a danger to people of all faiths in the former communist countries. Ukraine can be regarded as the stage for the re-imposition of specific ideologies of control and repression. The only remedy is for people of all faiths, together with persons committed to the development of a nurturing democracy in Ukraine, to speak in
solidarity and to support those who demonstrate great courage in raising their voices in protest against the forces of oppression.