The most recent liberation of territories in the eastern part of Ukraine produces a sense of hope to the worldwide community. Dozens of villages and towns, older people and remaining young children welcomed the return of Ukrainian flag over the liberated city hall buildings and schools. However, it also provided a glimpse into the destruction that the Russian invasion of Ukraine produced. It is truly a humanitarian crisis in the liberated towns and villages.
With the destruction of the local infrastructure, medical and educational institutions; once liberated, the residents of half-destroyed areas begin to look for new homes and seek assistance in the neighboring urban territories.
Due to the local efforts of the clergy of Donetsk Eparchy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, mainly through the leadership of His Eminence Archbishop Serhiy, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA is able to reach out into the deep pockets of liberated areas and occupied zones with the donations of food and clothing that provide a renewed sense of hope for peace and stability.
Once the funds transferred to Ukraine, Archbishop Serhiy personally, with the assistance of the local clergy and volunteers, travel to larger towns and cities in order to purchase and make arrangements for the delivery of bread, water, basic fruit and vegetables as well as clothing and personal hygiene items.
Hundreds of individuals daily benefit from the donations of the UOC of the USA that literally contribute to the salvation of the preservation of human life.
Very Rev. Fr. Kostayntyn Kuznetsov, together with his parishioners follow the example of their eparchial bishop, and with the encouragement of Archbishop Daniel (who closely communicates with the clergy and volunteers), opened the door of the local Kostiantynivka village parish temple to the refugees and the men and women of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in order to provide the most necessary daily assistance to those in need.
Clothing for the men and women on the front line; home cooked meals for soldiers; clothing, diapers and medical supplies for children and elderly; bread and food items to all that come through the gate of the parish temple – are the opportunities for service that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA humbly engages in, thus providing life-saving assistance to those in need.
Meantime, in Ternopil Eparchy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the UOC of the USA financed a purchase of yet another heavy-duty transportation vehicle from the Czech Republic. His Eminence Archbishop Nestor presided over the prayer service of dedication and blessing of the vehicle, in the presence of the local military officials and volunteers.
In Kyiv, the UOC of the USA endorsed a ministry of a local woman – pani Vira Samoliy, who together with the volunteers, provides home cooked meals for the wounded soldiers of the Kyiv Military hospital. Speaking with pani Vira via Facebook Messenger, Archbishop Daniel asked for the list of the most needed items in order to ease the work and ministry of the volunteers. Responding to the archbishop’s note, pani Vira stated: “…if you can, please pray for the names on the list of the newly arrived soldiers and the doctors that will operate on them…” And so, we pray and live out of Faith by the call to holiness and ministry: “…the Faith without deeds is dead…” We, collectively, continue to pray and send funds in order to purchase the food items for the homecooked meals of the wounded men and women of the Ukrainian Armed forces.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, the St. Andrew’s Society of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA provided additional $30,000 in order to facilitate the further purchase of additional medical vehicles and supplies for the people in the Eastern part of Ukraine.
In the most recent interview with the local reporter in Somerset, NJ – Archbishop Daniel stated: “The humanitarian outreach of the Church is given to all in love. We reach out to everyone — all of God’s children — because God loves them all… Helping others and reaching out to the people in need is really at the heart of the Gospel of Christ. We wouldn’t be the Church of the Savior if we did not follow or strive to follow His example every day… One of the things that He showed us to do is love our neighbor as ourselves. He taught us about the two great commandments, to love God and love our neighbor. And these are our brothers and sisters in Ukraine!”