On Monday 9th May 2022, Saint Oswald's Church was host to a special prayer service, led by Fr Taras, the Ukrainian Community Chaplain in Liverpool. The service took place to show solidarity for the Ukrainian Community, and  also to pray for all who have died due to the the ongoing Russian invasion and aggression within Ukraine.

 

Fr Taras was joined on the altar by Archbishop Malcolm, Fr Stephen Pritchard; Fr Liam Collister, and Dcn Paul Rooney, along with  other church leaders attending in the congregation. Also in attendance were Councillor Mary Rasmussen (Lord Mayor of Liverpool); Mr. Steve Rotheram (Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region); and the Lord-Lieutenant of Merseyside: Mr. Mark Blundell (personal representative to Liverpool of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II).

All joined in pray for those who have died, and for an end to the Russian hostilities.

 

Mr. Blundell gave the following speech at the end of the service:

"In the Gospel reading we heard Jesus saying ‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (John 15:13). These words resonate with what hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian military and volunteers are doing today: they are willing to give their life for the truth and dignity, and they are ready to protect the innocent at the highest personal cost. When asked whether their family and friends in Ukraine are okay, many Ukrainians now tend to say that the entire population of Ukraine, over 40 million people, have become their family and friends. These are those friends of the Gospel reading for whom many are willing to lay down their lives. What we observe today in Ukraine is the manifestation of the greatest love, accompanied with the bravery and the resilience, which one cannot but admire. At the same time, we express our sorrow over the loss of lives of thousands of innocent people and over all the devastation brought by Russian invasion of Ukraine. We pray for all the victims of this war: children, civilians and the military who defend their country and their people. Today, we commemorate all those who have lost their lives and express our sympathy with their relatives and loved ones. We also know that there is a dangerous potential in the words of the Gospel quoted above; they can be easily abused to justify the war and the loss of lives on the side of the Russian army, as they were in a speech by the Russian president in his speech earlier in March. In the midst of atrocities committed by the aggressors, we respect the wise approach of the Ukrainian government, which names and honours all the killed heroes with no attempt at the glorification of this war, but rather with a clear determination to end this tragedy. Today we would also like to extend our expressions of sympathy and support to the Ukrainian community in Merseyside and especially to all those who have recently arrived, fleeing the war. We would like to assure you that we stand with you, with the people of Ukraine.

Slava Ukraini!"

We will continue to pray for all who are affected by the Russian aggression in Ukraine.

We also pray that the peace of the Risen Christ will reign in all troubled parts of the world, within our  own homes, and especially within the hearts of all people.