Kiev, Ukraine — Ukrainian Catholic bishops thanked people around the world for their prayers over the last six months and asked for continued prayers for peace in their country.
"The dignity that Ukrainians yearn for is not first and foremost material," said a message from the Permanent Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. "They seek a God-given dignity, a respect for their very being. Their right for self-determination, territorial integrity, cultural and especially ecclesial tradition has been violated brutally in the past and is demeaned today."
The bishops described recent events in Ukraine as "truly miraculous," noting that "transforming grace poured down upon the people of our country."
"In the face of systemic corruption, government repression and intolerable social conditions, millions of Ukrainians demonstrated peacefully, forging an ever-stronger interethnic, interconfessional and intercultural solidarity," it said.
"Together Ukrainian citizens are saying no to tyranny, lawlessness, violence and irresponsibility -- personal and social, internal and external, domestic and international," they said.
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The message, issued after a June 4-6 meeting of the synod, was addressed to "Catholic bishops' conferences, priests, religious and the faithful of the church; to all Christians and people of good will that stand in solidarity with Ukraine."
Referring to winter months of protest and confrontation that resulted in the February ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and the May election of President Petro Poroshenko, the bishops expressed gratitude "for your abiding prayers and various works of charity that you conducted." They also expressed thanks for efforts to inform people "about the true nature of developments in our country, countering the disinformation directed against Ukraine and its churches." It said church leaders had seen recently "how this campaign has been escalated by certain political and spiritual authorities at the highest level that share an aggressive tone and modality of dissimilation."