The Catholic bishops of Scotland have pleaded with the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, to urge him to intervene with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the tragedy in Ukraine.
Highlighting the deaths of innocent people, the bishops say the beauty and power of the Orthodox faith is a message of peace.
The letter is signed by the President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert, on behalf of all the Bishops of Scotland.
Meanwhile, Irish Church leaders have thanked parishes across Ireland for their extraordinary generosity in raising more than €3.25 million in response to the crisis in Ukraine.
The money was collected through a special collection in parishes over a weekend at the end of March.
In a statement, Archbishops Eamon Martin and Dermot Farrell also said it was encouraging that some parish communities have established direct links with Ukrainian parishes and local charity projects to support refugees and those left behind in Ukraine.
But they lamented the killing of seven people, including two Caritas employees, when a Caritas office in Mariupol was bombed. “We would like to highlight the courage of humanitarian workers who are risking their lives providing much-needed assistance and protection to innocent people who have been caught up in this war.
In addition, the Archdiocese of Dublin offered its former seminary at Clonliffe College to welcome Ukrainian refugees. Work needs to be undertaken to prepare the facility which could accommodate over 600 people.
Thirty-seven religious orders offered convents, retreat centers, former student accommodation and houses across the country to Ukrainian refugees, totaling 450 rooms, with many parish houses also offered.
David Rose, general secretary of the Association of Missionary and Religious Leaders of Ireland (AMRI), said many religious orders have communities in Ukraine and Poland and hear “first hand the devastating impact of war “.
AMRI members have “opened their churches, monasteries and convents to welcome those fleeing the invasion, to provide food, shelter and support”, he said and are in contact with the department. of Children and the Irish Refugee Council on the adoption of these offers.
Among these orders to raise funds and send aid directly to communities on the Ukrainian border is the Redemptorist Community of Limerick which has raised €550,000 according to Fr Seamus Enright, rector of Mount St Alphonsus Monastery.
In Co Roscommon, the Missionaries of the Divine Word of Donamon donated their former seminary building and 70 Ukrainians currently live there.
Meanwhile, 30 Ukrainian refugees are living in the former Convent of Presentation in Fethard, Co Tipperary. Sr Frances Crowe explained that the sisters left the convent in 2020 and are in the process of selling the convent to Fethard Day Care, when asked if the building could be used to house refugees.
“We are delighted to see the place full of life,” said Sr. Frances.
However, one concern she highlighted is that some offers of accommodation for refugees made by religious orders have not been answered. The Presentation Sisters donated five rooms in a Clondalkin convent in Dublin and a five-bedroom house in Kilkenny. “We have had no news. I think there are other religious in the same situation.