Two monks in Ukraine’s war-ravaged city of Kherson have refused to leave so that they can continue to minister to the orphaned, the sick and the elderly, despite the increasing risk to their own lives.
Father Ignatius Moskalyuk, rector of the Basilian Monastery of St Volodymyr the Great, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that he wouldn’t abandon his remaining parishioners, even during catastrophic flooding after the apparent deliberate destruction of the Nova Kakhovka Dam.
Father Moskalyuk explained: “Those who stayed behind were the elderly, the sick and also the young who had nowhere else to go, as well as those who had been trapped in Kherson by the war. We cannot leave these people alone.”
Premier Christian News reports the Ukrainian Greek Catholic monastery helps people by distributing aid and providing pastoral care for those in need. The faithful also continue to visit to ask for the sacraments of baptism, marriage and confession.
“Every day we have around 25 or 30 people receiving communion at Mass, including young people and children. This fills us with joy. The sacrifice that Brother Pious and I made during the occupation is now bearing fruit,” Father Moskalyuk proclaimed.
When he first heard about the destruction of the nearby hydro-electric dam, the monks and their parishioners “faced this new situation just as we had at the beginning of the war – nothing could shake our trust in God, in our Lord. Anything that might happen because of the flooding, was in his hands. God will give us the strength to withstand.”
Father Moskalyuk said that the monastery was not damaged by the war or the flood, revealing: “Everything works, we have food, we lack nothing, thank God. During the occupation I learnt to trust God more. Before, I also trusted him, but not as strongly as I do now. I thank God that I can sacrifice my life every day.”
Kherson has been constantly targeted by Russian forces since the beginning of the war with hundreds of missiles being fired into the city last weekend.