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Ukrainian Catholic spiritual leader warns of environmental disaster

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John Burger - published on 03/05/22 - updated on 04/07/22

War could lead to ecological impact that could take centuries to reverse, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk says.

The major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, continuing to speak daily from a bomb shelter in Kyiv, issued an urgent call to prevent an environmental disaster that could take centuries to overcome.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk spoke in a video message on Friday about a fire that had broken out at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, in Zaporizhzhya, in the midst of heavy fighting with Russian forces. The fire was extinguished, but the plant is now in Russian hands. 

“It is necessary to do everything to stop this war immediately,” said Shevchuk. “This is not only becoming a humanitarian catastrophe before our very eyes. It is an irreversible attack on God’s creation that for decades, for centuries will be impossible to correct.” 

Ukraine, he said, faced a threat that could be 10 times worse than the 1986 explosion and fire at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, from which plumes of radioactive clouds drifted north and westward over Europe. 

Mentioning that there have already been over a million people from Ukraine flowing into Poland, Moldova, and other western neighbors, Shevchuk addressed the refugees and said, “We are waiting for you to come back home when Ukraine will have peaceful skies, and your Mother Church will accompany you.” 

Reports of angels

Thanking the Ukrainian military for defending the country and assuring that Ukraine is still “standing and fighting,” Shevchuk noted that “Ukraine is also praying, standing in prayer.”

“Here in Kyiv we perceive that the patron of our city is the Archangel Michael who with the cry ‘Who is like God?’ cast into the abyss Lucifer — the one who rose up against God’s truth and was the leader of the diabolical armies. We perceive today that the Archangel Michael together with the whole Heavenly Host is fighting for Ukraine. So many people from throughout Ukraine are turning to me saying that they saw luminous angels over the land of Ukraine.

“Today we pray: O Archangel Michael and all the Powers of Heaven, fight for Ukraine! Cast down that devil who is attacking us and killing us, bringing devastation and death!” he concluded. “O God, bless Ukraine! O God, stop the war! May the power of our prayer, strengthened by Your grace, become a shield of faith for our homeland. O God, grant Ukraine peace!”

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