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Do not despair, Primate counsels Ukrainians, after new wave of Russian missile attacks

13 October 2023

Alamy

Newly dug graves at Hroza for victims of a Russian missile attack on the village on Thursday of last week

Newly dug graves at Hroza for victims of a Russian missile attack on the village on Thursday of last week

RELIGIOUS leaders in Ukraine have condemned a new wave of Russian missile attacks, which inflicted this year’s largest single death-toll at a village near Kharkiv.

“When we witness indescribable grief and suffering over the loss of relatives and friends, the death of innocents, the destruction caused by the Russian evil empire, the temptation to despair undoubtedly grows,” the Primate of the Ukrainian independent Orthodox Church (OCU), Metropolitan Epiphany (Dumenko), said.

“It is not only in the future age, however, that God will reveal the greatness of his love; he also shows it in this world, by stopping the action of evil, and exposing and punishing its perpetrators.”

Metropolitan Epiphany was preaching on Sunday during three days of mourning for the 52 people killed in an attack last week on a commemorative restaurant gathering in Hroza.

As other Russian attacks were reported in the north-eastern Kharkiv region, the city’s Moscow-linked Orthodox Metropolitan, Onufriy (Legkiy), sent a message of sympathy to local residents. “Only a misanthropic and criminal will could lead to such a crime against civilians,” he told them.

Speaking on Sunday, however, at the Trinity Lavra of St Sergius monastery, north of Moscow, Patriarch Kirill assured worshippers that the saints were with Russia’s leaders and armed forces as they “resisted world evil”.

A total of 60 clergy in the Moscow-linked Orthodox Church have faced charges relating to their support for Russia’s invasion, including Metropolitan Theodosy (Snigiryov) of Cherkassy & Kanev, who made a video appeal from house arrest on Tuesday to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

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