Ukrainian Archbishop Warns of Russian Ideological ‘Pandemic’

Newly elected Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk takes part in his enthronement ceremony as the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Kiev on March 27, 2011. The election of Shevchuk at the helm of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI …
GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty

ROME — Ukrainian Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk warned Thursday that Russia is spreading a new ideological “pandemic” through its imperialist pretensions.

Our homeland and our people “have been resisting the full-scale military invasion of the Russian army into the territory of our homeland for 92 days,” Archbishop Shevchuk said in his video message.

Human sin is a spiritual disease “that has the very dangerous property of infecting other people around you,” the archbishop said. “And just like in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, in order to curb the spread of the disease it was necessary to isolate the sick person, in the same way, when it comes to a sinful person who infects everyone around him with his sins, everything must truly be done to distance oneself from the actions of such a person.”

“If the crime is not punished, then criminal behavior with its impunity grows and spreads,” he added.

Today, “we must do everything we can to ensure that Russia’s war crimes do not spread throughout the world,” he continued. “And today Ukraine is at the forefront of this struggle. We are stopping this evil.”

“But the whole world must realize the danger of this pandemic of the ‘russkiy mir’ [Russian world] ideology, a pandemic of justification of war crimes, even for some religious reason,” he warned.

“Today we ask the whole world to be careful with these spiritual diseases that are being spread by our invaders,” he said. “Be attentive not to remain silent about this misfortune, because every silence, every unwillingness to distance oneself, to condemn and punish these crimes, becomes toxic today, becomes dangerous, infecting innocent souls with the death that is brought on by the war in Ukraine.”

For its part, Ukraine is standing and fighting, Shevchuk declared, “although it is paying the highest price for its freedom in this struggle.”

As he has done on other occasions, the archbishop listed the areas where fighting is strongest and damage is greatest, especially underscoring the Luhansk region, which is today at “the epicenter of the Russian attack.”

“There are full-scale hostilities along the entire front line. Our Donetsk region is flowing with blood,” he said, while also noting shelling in the Dnipropetrovsk region and the Zaporizhzhia region of the country.

But Ukraine is praying and “asking the Lord God for strength to resist evil,” he said. “And Ukraine testifies, witnesses to the whole world that evil can and must be defeated.”

“But we need allies, we need help to fight evil together,” he declared. “Because only together, together with all sincere and honest people of the world, Ukraine can and will be able to survive in this battle.”

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