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Thursday, 27 June 2013

President: Through truth to reconcilement

  |   Mass for the Volhynia victims at Warsaw Basilian Order church Mass for the Volhynia victims at Warsaw Basilian Order church Mass for the Volhynia victims at Warsaw Basilian Order church Mass for the Volhynia victims at Warsaw Basilian Order church Mass for the Volhynia victims at Warsaw Basilian Order church Mass for the Volhynia victims at Warsaw Basilian Order church Mass for the Volhynia victims at Warsaw Basilian Order church Mass for the Volhynia victims at Warsaw Basilian Order church Mass for the Volhynia victims at Warsaw Basilian Order church Mass for the Volhynia victims at Warsaw Basilian Order church President meets Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Mayor Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk President meets Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Mayor Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk President meets Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Mayor Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk President meets Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Mayor Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk President meets Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Mayor Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk President meets Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Mayor Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk President meets Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Mayor Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk President meets Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Mayor Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk

It is our duty to speak about the Volhynia massacre with words of truth, not in order to accuse but to strive for cleansing and reconcilement, President Bronisław Komorowski said on Thursday at a Warsaw mass for the Volhynia victims.

 

The 1943-44 Volhynia massacre involved mass killings of Poles by Ukrainian nationalists in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia, the eastern outskirts of Nazi-occupied Poland. The killings were part of an ethnic purge by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), their peak took place in July and August 1943. In all 40,000-60,000 Poles, mainly women and children, were killed in Volhynia and from 25,000 to 30,000-40,000 in Eastern Galicia. See also: Presidential Palace hosts Volhynia massacre conference

 

President Komorowski, attending a mass for the massacre victims in a Warsaw Basilian Order church celebrated by Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church Mayor Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, said after the service that Polish-Ukrainian history "abounded in numerous joint victories but, unfortunately, also fratricidal conflicts frequently paid for by torrents of Polish and Ukrainian blood".

 

Commenting the Volhynia events, Komorowski called it "one of the biggest Polish tragedies in World War Two" but noted that remembrance about the killings should not be directed against Ukrainians.

 

"We can not and must not forget about it. However, it is not our intention to remember it against anyone, we should not remember it against our Ukrainian brothers", the president said.

 

Bronisław Komorowski stressed that Poles and Ukrainian have the duty to speak about Volhynia "with words of truth but not to accuse but strive for cleansing and reconcilement through truth and an examination of our consciences".

 

"Lasting values base solely on the fundament of truth and it is our duty to thus anchor the joint Polish-Ukrainian here-and-now and future. Truth cleanses. It is at times painful but never harmful", Bronisław Komorowski declared.

 

Shevchuk appealed to Poles for forgiveness of the Volhynia killings. Recounting the events, he reminded that the 20th century brought multiple tragedy on the Ukrainian people in the form of wars, famines and Siberian deportations. The Volhynia tragedy was part of that reality, Shevchuk declared.

 

"Today in this historical Warsaw church, in the presence of the highest authorities of the Polish state and Polish church hierarchs, we wish to renew our plea for forgiveness", Shevchuk said.

 

He also thanked Komorowski, whom he called "a friend of Ukraine and an advocate of its path to united Europe".

 

Polish Episcopate head Archbishop Jozef Michalik reminded about a joint declaration between the Ukrainian and Polish churches to be signed Friday, and said this made Thursday's mass "more than a tribute to the Volhynia victims". (PAP)

 

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