The Order of Malta’s Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ John T. Dunlap, received the Ukrainian Exarch in Italy, Mgr. Dionisio Lachovicz, who gave him a letter from the head of the Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc.
The dramatic situation in Ukraine, “the victim of a war that began eight months ago, which has brought death, destruction and pain”, was the focus of the meeting, also attended by Pope Francis’ Special Delegate to the Order of Malta, Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches.
In his letter, the Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church thanked the Order of Malta ‘for attending to the sufferings of our people with concrete gestures of help and solidarity’, and expressed his appreciation ‘for its immense humanitarian work and diplomatic commitment to peace in Ukraine’.
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri expressed his “admiration and gratitude for the Order of Malta’s commitment to the tormented land of Ukraine. I no longer have words” – the Cardinal continued – “to describe the terrifying situation that continues to cause deaths, violence and bombing that forces people to live in fear in cellars”.
The Lieutenant of the Grand Master reiterated the Order of Malta’s determination to “do whatever is necessary to continue to provide aid and assistance to the suffering Ukrainians”.
Since the start of the war on 24 February, the Order of Malta has brought immediate relief to the thousands of displaced persons and refugees, both inside Ukraine and in bordering countries. Among the many works of solidarity cited by Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk in his letter are, ‘the numerous reception areas for displaced persons, the psychological support for refugees and war wounded, the first-aid training activities for the population as well as the inclusion of Ukrainian children in summer camps’.