International Orthodox Christian News

On the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr, the delegation of the Synodal Department for Relations with Armed Forces and Other Law-Enforcement Agencies of Ukraine, headed by its chairman - Archbishop Augustine of Lviv and Halych, took part in the work of the International Conference of the Military Clergymen, that took part in Cape Town (Republic of South Africa).

Every year this conference gathers about 150 participants from 60 countries of the world and is an influential world forum, where the most important issues of military ethics and spiritual and pastoral care in the troops are discussed.

This year the subject of the conference was "The role of a chaplain in peace-making and recovering after military conflicts". The Orthodox participants of the conference were given possibility of taking floor to express their wishes and thoughts; this time they underscored necessity of establishment of the international conventions under the auspices of UN dedicated to military clergymen's activity, and also called the chaplains' community not to remain silent when the evident war crimes are committed. On the whole, the majority of heads of the chaplain services from various countries emphasized the growing importance of peace-making and restoration of the relations, interrupted during the military conflicts, for the activity of a military clergyman.

Thus, one can state the change of attitude to a military clergyman, who was assigned to a military unit just for the spiritual and pastoral care with military personnel with a purpose of moral justification of the commandment's actions. Today the chaplain, or a military priest is more a carrier of the religious worldview, which calls to reconciliation, he is a conscience for the soldiers and officers, who perform their military service duties under conditions of complex ethical conflicts.

During the conference the Orthodox participants from Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Croatia, United States and Ukraine were given possibility to discuss the cooperation issues in separate sections, and to conduct the divine services in the Church of St. George of the Patriarchate of Alexandria in Cape Town city, where orthodox community came at the invitation of His Eminence Metropolitan Sergius of Cape Town and Cape of Good Hope.

Fr. Victor Yatsenko,
Member of the Synodal Department of the UOC for Relations with the Armed Forces and other Law-enforcement Agencies of Ukraine.

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