Msgr. Maksym Ryabukha SDB, auxiliary bishop of the Greek-Catholic Exarchate of Donetsk in the Donbas, Ukraine, joined the Italian bishops gathered in Assisi on 15 November for the “Procession and prayer for peace”.
“These are exceptional days for us because exactly one year ago, on 16 November 2022, two of our Redemptorist religious priests from Berdyansk, Father Ivan Levytskyi and Father Bohdan Geleta, were captured by the Russians. They took them hostage, taken away. We have had no news since then. We know neither where they are nor how they are. Among other things, one of them has severe diabetes. For them, we pray every day, and for all those who are prisoners, we ask for prayers”.
While in Assisi, the Italian bishops prayed for peace, Msgr Maksym Ryabukha spoke to Sir about the war situation that the population and Catholic communities continue to experience in Ukraine. The Bishop on 11 and 12 November visited three parishes in the Donetsk region. Seminarians from the Trinity Theological Seminary in Kyiv also joined him. The bishop’s thoughts – in these days of prayer in Assisi – went to “all the civilians captured by the Russians, tortured and mistreated of whom we have no news. We cannot even negotiate for an exchange since the Ukrainian army does not take Russian civilians hostage. Therefore, there is no mechanism to free Ukrainian civilians. And this is one of the many faces of this war drama: injustice. Let us pray and entrust to the Lord first of all these people who are suffering and being mistreated for no reason and of whom no one speaks. And let us also pray for the conversion of the hearts of those who act out of hatred, senselessly, unmotivated”.
(Agenzia Sir, 15/11/2023)