Hierarchs of the UOC of the USA Visit Wounded Soldiers of Ukrainian Army at the Military Hospital in Lviv, Ukraine

February- March 2015

“Please, stay with us for another moment and offer us a blessing…” These were the words of one of the wounded soldiers at Lviv Regional Military Hospital which was visited by His Eminence Metropolitan Antony and His Grace Bishop Daniel on Sunday, February 22, 2015 following their arrival to Lviv.

Some 35 recently wounded soldiers from Debaltsevo battlefield became the latest recipients of the charitable assistance of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA offered through the generosity of the parish communities and the faithful of the Church.

Both hierarchs of the Church, escorted by Very Rev. Oleh Drevnick, visited the “adopted” hospital of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in order to share in the moment of prayer, reflection and encouragement as young soldiers of Ukrainian Armed forces receive medical treatments following the sad reality of painful war injuries. A number of young men expressed their love for the homeland and a sincere desire to return back to their battle-buddies, protecting the nation of Ukraine from Russian aggression.

Over $26,000 were delivered and distributed by the hierarchs of the UOC of the USA to the wounded soldiers and refugees as the delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA traveled to Ukraine in order to participate in the commemoration services of Maidan’s “Heavenly Hundred”. Moreover, the Church made a donation towards the purchase of medical equipment and ambulances in the amount of $10,000.

Speaking with the medical staff of the hospital, Bishop Daniel referred to his own military service in the US, recalling the need for spiritual, physical and intellectual care of the patients. Moreover, the bishop mentioned the need for prayer and patience, as the recovery time is often lengthy and painful. Vladyka Daniel reflected “The armed forces are engaged in irregular warfare against a new kind of enemy, and they face improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers, and combat operations on a daily basis. This form of combat is causing significantly increased Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as other horrific physical and psychological wounds… Another matter of concern are the psychological effects upon family members, as hundreds of thousands of children are experiencing the draft and deployment of a parent as the sad reality of war and technology bring the horrors of war into their homes.

These warriors, veterans are returning home from the current conflicts with Traumatic Brain Injury, lost or mangled limbs and other catastrophic injuries. Modern medicine and the availability of air transportation to the military medical facilities mean that these wounded warriors can now survive such trauma…

Survival, however, usually means extensive recovery and rehabilitation in a military facility… Clearly the wounded soldiers need prayer support as their numbers continue to grow, and the lack of professionally trained chaplains is often an issue of major concern for spiritual and physical and psychological recovery.”

Speaking to the wounded soldiers Metropolitan Antony encouraged the young men to patiently submit themselves to medical doctors who tirelessly work on their recovery and the ability to return back to their loved ones. “For over a year now, the faithful of the UOC of the USA gather in their parishes to hold prayer services for the suffering, wounded and deceased. Today, both Bishop Daniel and I visit these brave men with a profound sense of gratitude for their service and the ultimate sacrifice that so many of them have made. Today, we bring with us the prayerful well wishes of the clergy and the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA…” concluded Metropolitan Antony, bidding farewell to some 60 soldiers in the military hospital wards of Lviv Regional Military Hospital.

Over 250 wounded Ukrainian soldiers became recipients of over $200,000 since the beginning of war in Ukraine.