The Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations appealed to believers and all people of good will on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Volyn tragedy. Ukrainian religious leaders called for learning from this tragic experience and paving the way for further mutual understanding and reconciliation between the Ukrainian and Polish peoples through mutual forgiveness.
Read the full text of the UCCRO Call:
of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations
to believers and all people of goodwill on the occasion of
the 80th anniversary of the Volyn tragedy during the World War II
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
On the 80th anniversary of the Volyn tragedy, we, the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations members, bow our heads in memory of the murdered, tortured, and maimed victims of those horrific events.
For decades now, we have been following the path of atonement, forgiveness, and Ukrainian-Polish reconciliation, a path that requires self-sacrifice and the deep work of souls and hearts.
Today, when shells and rockets are killing Ukrainian children, when the Kremlin maniac threatens our nations with nuclear ash, and his disgusting propagandists call for a march on Warsaw, not only our future, but also the peace and tranquility of the whole of Europe depend on the understanding of our peoples, their determination and responsibility. Ukrainians will always remember the helping hand extended to us by our Polish brothers during the most dramatic period of Ukrainian history. The old slogan of the Polish insurgents, "W imię Boga za Naszą i Waszą Wolność," has gained special significance in the era of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Ukrainians are fighting "for our freedom and yours," against universal evil, dictatorship, and slavery, for the values of the free world, and for the very lives of current and future generations.
For the sake of preserving and multiplying our common achievements, for the sake of overcoming the latest challenges and threats, we, the descendants of those who survived the terrible time, must offer our fervent prayers to the Lord.
Let us ask the Lord to prevent the sins of the past from being passed on to the future, so that mutual forgiveness, mutual respect, peace, and understanding, which have now become the basis of relations between the Ukrainian and Polish peoples, will never be overshadowed by anything.
We cannot change the tragic pages of history, but we also have no right to forget or justify them. Instead, we must change ourselves: find the courage to accept this bitter truth, learn from this tragic experience, and pave the way for further mutual understanding, reconciliation, and unity through mutual forgiveness.
Let us once again recall the appeal of Pope John Paul II to the Ukrainian and Polish peoples: “The time has come to free ourselves from the painful past! Let forgiveness - given and received - be poured out like a healing balm in every heart. May the cleansing of historical memory make everyone ready to put what unites rather than what divides above all else to build a future together based on mutual respect, fraternal cooperation, and true solidarity.”
May God's grace lead us along the path of curing and healing the wounds of the past to fraternal cooperation between the Ukrainian and Polish peoples!
Kyiv, 7 July 2023