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18 December 2013

Pray for 'volatile' Ukraine

Pray for 'volatile' Ukraine

Wiki Commons. December 1 Kiev clashes by Mstyslav Chernov

Bishop Anatoliy Kaluzhny, a Ukrainian Church leader who has been at the centre of action on more than one occasion, urged Christians across the world to pray for his country. He is calling the European Evangelical Alliances and World Evangelical Alliance to encourage Christians everywhere to seek peace in the middle of what has the potential of becoming a very violent situation.

Three days ago, some 200,000 Pro-EU supporters braved freezing temperatures in the Ukrainian capital Kiev to protest against President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign the European Union Association Agreement, after months of negotiations.

Since Sunday 1 December, which saw half a million protesters gather in the central square of Kiev for a peaceful protest, similar protests have taken place in other cities around the country. Kiev protesters have pitched up tents and constructed defense screens, and have begun the protest for an unlimited period of time.

"Every day the waves of protest grow stronger and wider," he explains. "The Lord starts acting where common sense and human hope are lost. I am confident that it is only God's intervention that can prevent our country from being split by bloodshed."

"For three years, the Church and its people have suffered. There was hope that after the European Union Association Agreement was signed, things would gradually start to change for the better. But these hopes were dashed when the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers put the process of signing the Agreement on hold and then the President refused to sign the agreement."

It is reported that many young people were active during protests because many of them are finding it difficult to find employment and believe that signing this contract with the EU is the last hope that things would be well in their country.

Bishop Anatoluy continued: "The Ukrainian authorities brutally drove off the protesting students at the beginning of this month. Blood was shed and many put in jail. Even now, several students are still missing. It is not known how they are doing and where they are held. Others were able to find refuge in the Cathedral of Ukrainian Autocephalous Church from the police that chased them. This has caused anger and resentment among people."

"That is why I am urging all bishops, pastors, ministers of all ranks, as well as all Christians to announce prayer and fasting for the unity of Ukraine and God's protection from blood-shed. We believe that only our almighty God can help the people of the Ukraine to get rid of corruption and dictatorship and find peace, freedom, and welfare. It is high time for the Church of Jesus Christ to stand in the gap for the people of Ukraine. Do not be indifferent - stand in prayer with us!"

Since 8 December, when Ukrainian evangelical churches announced a period of prayer and fasting, various churches have gathering for prayer each evening in the capital.