In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, a new conflict appeared an open war from Russia on Ukrainian soil.
This conflict has its origins in religion, starting a century ago.
Religious and spiritual leaders joined forces to create a book of prayers, Praying with Ukraine.
How is the religion landscape in Ukraine?
The majority of Ukraine’s population is Orthodox, with a significant minority of Ukrainian Catholics who worship with a Byzantine liturgy similar to that of the Orthodox but are loyal to the pope.
The role of religion in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine
Ukraine and Russia are divided by a common history, both religiously and politically.
They trace their ancestry to the medieval kingdom of Kievan Rus, whose 10th century Prince Vladimir (Volodymyr in Ukrainian) rejected paganism, was baptized in Crimea and adopted Orthodoxy as the official religion.
In 2014, Putin cited that history in justifying his seizure of Crimea, a land he called “sacred” to Russia.
While Putin says Russia is the true heir to Rus, Ukrainians say their modern state has a distinct pedigree and that Moscow didn’t emerge as a power until centuries later.
What Christians can do to support peace?
Pope Francis made a call to prayer and fasting.
We, believers, must pray to claim peace in the world, as Jesus said.
John 16:33 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Psalm 4:8 “In peace, I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Psalm 72:7 “In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!”
About the book The World Prays with Ukraine
The book was written to send a message of lament, hope and courage to Ukrainian communities.
The book has two parts.
Part 1: voices from the religious leaders. Starting from Pope Francis to community leaders, they address the conflict through Biblical perspectives.
Part 2: Prayers from Ukrainian churches. Pray like the Ukrainian community to send the message of Hope and Love.