kyiv, Ukraine, March 10, 2022 / 06:30 (CNA).
A Ukrainian Catholic leader said on Thursday that the besieged city of Mariupol – the “City of Mary” – had been turned into a cemetery by Russian bombardment.
In a video message published on March 10, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk lamented what he described as the “mass murder” of Ukrainians following the full-scale invasion of Russia.
“Today my conscience and the conscience of every Christian demand that we raise our voices across the world and say loud and clear the word ‘No’ to declare firm opposition to the slaughter of people in Ukraine,” he said. he declares.
“Especially in these final moments, we see mass murder in the besieged city of Mariupol. This city, which was founded by the Greek community as the “City of Mary”, was transformed into a cemetery for tens of thousands of people.
He continued: “Yesterday we saw horrific scenes of a maternity ward being bombed as well as scenes of mass graves, mass burials, where hundreds of lifeless bodies are buried.”
“Today we must say across the world: No! No to mass murder in Ukraine! Since the days of Nazism and Stalinist repressions, Ukraine has not seen such mass burials in mass graves, without honor, without Christian prayer.
The UN human rights office reported on March 9 that it had recorded 1,424 civilian casualties in Ukraine, with 516 people killed and 908 injured. He said the actual numbers were likely “significantly higher”.
A priest fleeing Mariupol, a port city on the Sea of Azov in southeastern Ukraine, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need on Sunday that the city was “hell”.
The priest, identified only as Father Pavlo, mentioned: “Mariupol is like Armageddon. It’s hell. Please tell the world: this is a tragedy. There are only random shootings. The whole city is like a big battlefield. Everywhere bombs are falling. Everywhere you hear gunshots. Mariupol is a city surrounded by Russian army. People are just sitting in their basements.
Shevchuk said Mariupol has a population of nearly 400,000 people.
“For nearly two weeks, the city has been under siege. People are starving. People are freezing to death. On their heads are falling rockets, shells, bombs,” commented the 51-year-old major archbishop.
“Today we must remember them and, in their name, speak to the conscience of the whole world. We implore you: Open the humanitarian corridors! Give women, children and the elderly the opportunity to leave this cold and beleaguered city. Give us the opportunity to send food and medicine there. Give us the opportunity to save people.
“In the name of the city of Mariupol, let us launch an appeal to the whole world: Save the sky of Ukraine! Do everything possible to close the Ukrainian skies to Russian weapons and Russian air force dropping bombs on peaceful inhabitants.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin expressed dismay Wednesday during the shelling of hospital facilities in Mariupol.
He told a reporter at an event in Rome on March 9 that “it is unacceptable to bomb a hospital”.
“There is no reason or motivation to do so,” the Vatican’s top diplomat said.
Meanwhile, the archbishop of the capital of Belarus asked Catholics to pray a novena for peace.
Bishop Iosif Staneuski appealed to the laity and clergy of the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev to pray the novena to Saint Joseph, patron of the universal Church.
The Belarusian government, led by President Alexander Lukashenko, is closely allied with Russia.
In his video message, Shevchuk urged priests and bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic community around the world to share “the truth about the genocide of the Ukrainian people.”
“In all of our churches, I ask you to serve memorial services for the rest of all those who have been buried in mass graves without Christian prayer or funerals,” he said.
If you enjoy the news and views provided by Catholic World Report, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers around the world for free, without subscription. Thank you for your generosity!
Click here for more information on donating to the CWR. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.