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Opinions & Interviews

4 Feb 2016

Metropolitan Hilarion: Border cooperation of Belarus, Russia, Ukraine remains important

Metropolitan Hilarion: Border cooperation of Belarus, Russia, Ukraine remains important

MINSK, 4 February (BelTA) – The near-border cooperation between Belarus, Russia and Ukraine remains as important as ever, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations said during a meeting of bishops of the dioceses located within the border zone of the three countries, BelTA learnt from the official website of the Belarusian Orthodox Church.

In his report Metropolitan Hilarion summarized the results of the inter-diocesan cooperation in the Belarusian-Ukrainian-Russian border zone in 2013-2014. Cooperation prospects were also discussed given the conditions of the ongoing armed conflict in the east of Ukraine. “A number of dioceses of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church located in the border zone have become an arena of fights. Civilians are killed and churches are shot every day. It is our common pain, common tragedy,” noted the Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations.

According to Metropolitan Hilarion, despite the fact that 2014 introduced serious amendments to the border cooperation program, it remains of the same importance. “We all bewall the ordeals Ukraine has been going through, and first of all the death of people. Nevertheless, our border cooperation continued even in such unfavorable conditions,” he said.

Metropolitan Hilarion also took note of the efforts of the priests who, risking their lives, transfer humanitarian cargoes to the zone of the armed conflict and distribute them among the civilians: women, children and old people who are often deprived of any means of subsistence.

The Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations also emphasized children’s and youth projects that were implemented by the border-zone bishops in the past two years. “I believe that the development of projects with the participation of the youth is the next promising area of inter-diocesan cooperation after humanitarian efforts,” he said.

Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine, who presented at the meeting, called upon everyone to pray for peace in Ukraine.

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