On a US tour, Ukrainian faith leaders plead for continued support against the Russian invasion

Like other Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy in a delegation of Ukrainian interfaith leaders visiting the United States this week, Bishop Ivan Rusyn has a succinct message: “Please, hear our cry.” The deputy senior bishop of the Ukrainian Evangelical Church, a Protestant denomination, said that since the February 2022 Russian invasion, some of his church’s pastors have been killed, and its seminary has been attacked by missiles.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has declared its independence from Moscow and proclaimed its loyalty to Ukraine, but a government study commission contended that the UOC remains a structural unit of the Russian Orthodox Church. The other separate, but similarly-named church, Orthodox Church of Ukraine, was officially recognized as independent by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in 2019, but the Russian church has disputed the legitimacy of that recognition.

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