Condolences from the Ukrainian Catholic Church to the Family and Friends of the Victims of Flight MH17

Memorial services are taking place across Australia for the innocent victims of MH17

The incredible has happened to Australian citizens and so many of other countries, including the Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Philippines, New Zealand, Canada, and 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 Catholic Eparchy in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, and in the name of all Ukrainians, we express our heartfelt condolences and spiritual solidarity.

In these days in our churches we have conducted 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 response of the Australian government, Churches, religious communities and especially the families of the victims. May the unity and integrity of the Australian people and all 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 the skies of Ukraine. We are at once tormented by the violence and shamed by the disgraceful treatment of the victims of this tragedy. It is hard to comment on our powerlessness in the face of enduring brutality. At this time we seek from God 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, night 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 and 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 dialogue 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 the truth and live it.

May the memory of the innocent victims be eternal!

Вічная Пам’ять! Eternal Memory !

+Peter Stasiuk, C.Ss.R.

Bishop of the Eparchy of Sts Peter & Paul for Ukrainian Catholics

In Australia, New Zealand & Oceania

+Borys Gudziak

Head of the Department of External Church Relations

of the Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Bishops.