LONDON: March 8, 2022
The Diocese of Great Britain and Western Europe raises funds to aid refugees and innocent victims in Ukraine

An on-line convocation of the clergy of the Diocese was held via videoconference, headed by the Ruling Bishop of the Diocese, His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe, together with the Diocesan Vicar, His Grace Bishop Alexander of Vevey. Priests and Deacons from across the 11-country territory of the Diocese were present on-line, for a discussion led by Bishop Irenei on various pastoral and administrative matters.

Chief amongst these is the tragedy of the present internecine war in Ukraine, which is the cause of deep grief and sorrow amongst the clergy and faithful of our Church and Diocese. Bishop Irenei stressed that the chief work of the Church in such times of peril is to pray for those who are suffering, and to strive by both spiritual and practical means to bring peace to those in conflict. His Grace confirmed the various additions to the liturgical prayers and Divine Services of the Church, being added specifically for the people of Ukraine including special petitions for peace and the alleviation of sufferings, and the lengthy Prayer for Ukraine being offered in every parish at each Liturgy. Stressing that the Churchs role is not to be a participant in political discussions rife during a time of warfare, but instead to be a voice of spiritual stability and peace, the Bishop exhorted all the pastors of the Diocese to redouble their efforts to ensure the Church Abroad, which has always been a home to Orthodox faithful from many lands and languages, irrespective of national or political borders, remains in this moment a haven of spiritual strength for all who are in need.

Extensive discussion was also dedicated to the practical ways that the Church is working on behalf of the suffering: through the organisation of an on-line appeal and a Diocese-wide special collection to take place this Sunday (Forgiveness Sunday). This is being organised in direct communication with the office of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, and all funds collected by the Diocese are being transferred directly to His Beatitudes Peace to You charitable fund in Kiev, so that he may distribute them to those in most immediate need. Readers may click here to donate to this appeal on-line in any currency. Additionally, various parishes in the Diocese are organising the collection of goods for refugees (e.g. clothes, medicines, supplies); and a project is underway to utilise a retreat centre in Switzerland to provide temporary shelter and support to refugees arriving from Ukraine and other affected territories.

The clergy went on to discuss practical and pastoral matters connected to the forthcoming beginning of Great Lent, including the serving of General Unction across the Diocese during the weeks ahead; as well as forthcoming archpastoral visits to parishes and various other matters.

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