Statement of the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA:
Beloved brethren in the Lord: CHRIST IS RISEN!
For 32 years, the catastrophe in Chornobyl remains the largest and most devastating nuclear accident in history and has rightly been described as the technological disaster of the 20th century.
Recalling and reflecting upon these sobering and saddening facts on the 32nd anniversary of the Chornobyl catastrophe, we can only lift up our hearts in prayer to the Almighty God and beg for His continued mercy and compassion as we remember those who suffered indescribable pain and loss.
We recall firstly, on this solemn anniversary, the many innocent men, women and children who perished in this tragedy and we pray for the repose of their souls. We remember in particular the brave and selfless firefighters, who, in the hours and days following the explosion, knowingly and willingly exposed themselves to mortal danger and almost certain death in order to extinguish the flames and construct and place the sarcophagus on the smoldering ruins of the reactor. Of such men Christ speaks eloquently when He declares: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (Jn. 15:13) We pray that God grant them eternal rest in a place of everlasting light where there is no pain, sorrow or mourning.
We also remember and pray for those whose health was irrevocably damaged by the radiation that was released that day, those who were taken ill and are living with sickness to this day, and for their families, and for those whose lives were cut short by premature death. We especially remember the children, most of whom who were born after the catastrophe itself, who suffer physical and psychological disabilities today because of Chornobyl. We also remember and pray for the many thousands of people who were forced, by the noxious cloud of radiation, to flee their homes and leave behind forever, everything that was familiar and loved by them: the villages, houses, fields and farms where they and generations before them were born, lived, laboured and died. May God grant all who suffer His peace, hope and consolation.
And, in a special way, we also remember and pray for our beloved ancestral homeland of Ukraine: so rich, generous and abundant, yet so often neglected, plundered, and abused over the centuries by the men who ruled over her.
With prayers in the Risen Lord,
+Antony, Metropolitan of the UOC of the USA and Diaspora
+Daniel, Archbishop of the UOC of the USA and Western Europe