President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting with Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine Epiphanius, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Onufriy and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk on the celebration of Easter under quarantine restrictions.
The meeting was also attended by Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak.
The President noted that on the eve of Easter the situation with COVID-19 incidence in Ukraine is under control.
“We just overcame the third wave. It is the first week, when there is a decrease in the amount of one or two thousand patients every day. And I wanted to discuss with you what other powerful signals we could send to prevent the regions from returning to the “red” zone after Easter, because it has a great impact on citizens and the economy,” he said.
The President thanked church leaders for their help during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic last year, when they informed the believers that it is important to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also asked to tell the believers about the importance of vaccination against COVID-19, as this is the only way to overcome the pandemic.
“That’s why it’s also important for us that people who come to your churches for help hear about the importance of vaccination,” he said.
The heads of churches assured that the issue of celebrating Easter in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is in the center of attention of all church communities. Their leaders try their best to make worship services available online, as it was last year; so that people keep distance and wear protective masks.
At the same time, church leaders noted that in conditions of quarantine restrictions, when people experience fatigue, even aggression and despair, spiritual care is also important.
In addition, the President was informed at the meeting that the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations had reached a common position on vaccination. According to it, there is no religious reason not to vaccinate, and vaccination must be safe, accessible and voluntary.
The church leaders thanked the state for including the clergy and social workers in the second wave of vaccination.
The parties also discussed support for the resumption of a ceasefire in Donbas. Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group was taking place today in the format of a video conference, the main issue of which was to discuss the return to a ceasefire. In this regard, the Head of State asked the church leaders to address the faithful with a message in support of the resumption of a ceasefire, which would be heard throughout Ukraine, in particular in the temporarily occupied territories.
The President was informed that the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations had issued a separate appeal regarding the “Easter truce”, in which it called on all those with the appropriate competence and authority to lay down their weapons.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also invited the Primates to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence and expressed hope for a joint prayer for Ukraine.