CHURCHES in eastern Ukraine held a joint service this week to
mourn the deaths of four Christians who were kidnapped in June.
The Senior Bishop of the All-Ukrainian Union of Evangelical
Christian Churches, the Rt Revd Mikhajlo Panochko, said that
pro-Russian militia stormed the Church of the Transfiguration after
the Pentecost service in June, capturing two deacons, Volodymyr
Velichko and Victor Bradarskoho, as well as Reuben and Albert
Pavenko - two adult children of the church's pastor, the Revd
Alexander Pavenko. The militia had attempted to capture him, but he
managed to escape with his younger children.
Last week, after the escape of another captured man, the
regional deputy prosecutor, Sergey Mironenko, it was revealed that
the four men had been charged with "crimes against the Donetsk
People's Republic" - supporting the Ukrainian army - and had been
tortured and killed the day after they were captured.
"None of us, six months ago, could ever think that the two
provinces of eastern Ukraine would burn with the terrible flames of
war, which consumes thousands of people, destroying towns and
villages, bringing pain and suffering of so many hearts," Bishop
Panochko told the Religious Information Service of the Ukraine.
"The leadership of the Union of Churches of Evangelical
Christians of Ukraine extends its deep condolences to the families
of the innocently killed brothers, and appeals to all the
Christians to prayerfully support their family in this extremely
difficult time," he said.
The Evangelical Churches in eastern Ukraine had "found
themselves in the middle of a conflict", he said. Besides the
attacks from pro-Russian separatists, he said, "Cuban Cossacks" had
"brutally destroyed churches, claiming that they do it in a fight
for the Orthodox faith".
The Bishop called for prayer "in the fight against the darkness
of this world, praying for peace for Ukraine and taming the wicked
The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, this week called a
snap parliamentary election for 26 October. After conversations on
Tuesday with the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, in the
Belarus capital, Minsk, President Poroshenko announced a "roadmap
The crisis in Ukraine is set to dominate next week's NATO summit
meeting at the Celtic Manor Resort, near Newport, in south Wales.
Unusually, the agenda of the biennial meeting had been "shaped" by
the events over the summer, a NATO source said. The
situation in Ukraine, the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and
Iraq, and the actions of Boko Haram in Nigeria were all causing
concern for NATO leaders, the source said.