Memorial service held in Kyiv for the deceased in the plane crash near Smolensk


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The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), Patriarch Lubomyr (Husar), on April 11, 2010, participated in the memorial service for the repose of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, and all the members of the delegation who perished in the plane crash near Smolensk in Russia. The service was headed by Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine Archbishop Ivan Yurkovych.

According to UNIAN, the service was conducted in the Polish Catholic Church of St. Oleksandr in Kyiv. "We remember them in a special way, because they are our neighbors, our friends," said the hierarch.

He reminded that in the history of our nations there were "moments when we acted unjustly against each other. Yes, it happened. We can neither deny nor measure it. The first time I had the chance and honor to meet with the deceased was on the day of reconciliation of the Ukrainian and Polish bishops, in which participated thousands of faithful. I met him at least two times later and both these times were in circumstances when he as the representative of Polish nation, our then president Viktor Yushchenko as the representative of Ukrainian nation, and we, Polish and Ukrainian bishops, all together searched for reconciliation and said to each other: ‘We forgive you and beg for your pardon,'" His Beatitude Lubomyr remembered.

The head of the UGCC said that "this figure of the president of Poland which we today remember in our prayers, very distinctively expressed his desire for honest and sincere neighborly relations of our nations. For our churches this is also very important and that is why today we must sincerely thank God that such people exist."

He voiced hope that "today in all churches across the country this man is remembered in prayer so we may live in peace and consent with our neighbors."

"Let's try, especially today, in sincere sympathy with our neighbors who feel a great pain to pass to the Lord the soul of deceased President Lech Kaczyński and those who are with him. Eternal memory to them!" His Beatitude Lubomyr added. The representatives of diplomatic corps of Ukraine took part in the divine service, in particular the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Poland in Ukraine Mr. Jacek Kluczkowski. The prayer service was celebrated in three languages: Polish, Ukrainian, and English.

On the day of the tragedy the head of the UGCC sent a letter of condolences to the Ambassador of Poland in Ukraine Mr. Jacek Kluczkowski and the Head of Conference of Catholic Bishops of Poland Archbishop Juseph Mikhalik.

"The sad news was just received about the plane crash that resulted in the tragic death of the President of Poland Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and representatives of the Polish government and society who were on a flight from Warsaw to Smolensk," reads the letter of sympathy. "I ask to accept from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, its bishops, clergy, monastics, and laity, the sincerest sympathy for the relatives of the deceased and for the whole Polish nation. Let the gracious Lord accept the souls of the deceased in His Kingdom!

Source: Information Department of the UGCC
(after the materials of UNIAN)