Heartbreaking stories continue to emerge from war-torn Ukraine, where millions of people have been forced to leave everything behind simply to survive. According to the United Nations, more than half of Ukraine’s displaced families include children and the elderly, and the threat of proper care grows by the day.
Even as they struggle through this great tragedy, Ukraine’s families are seeing signs of hope thanks to the generosity of the faithful, clergy and friends of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA - supporters like you who serve Christ in the vulnerable.
From the beginning of the unprovoked invasion attempt by Russian Federation, one of the biggest problems aid workers face in Ukraine is the lack of ambulances and other transportation to rescue the sick and injured from isolated or war-ravaged locations. On top of that, many hospital emergency rooms have reported a lack of basic lifesaving supplies. So even when patients manage to reach a hospital, they may not receive the care they need.
With the help of the Ukrainian Orthodox community of Munich, Germany, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA was able to purchase and equip over 100 ambulances and logistical vehicles in Ukraine. Most recently, while vising the Ukrainian Orthodox communities of Berlin and Munich, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel held a meeting with Archimandrite Onufriy of Holy Ascension of our Lord Ukrainian Orthodox Monastery in Hurbyn (Rivne region), Ukraine, who arrived Germany in order to facilitate the transportation of the medical ambulances purchased and donated by the generosity of the UOC of the USA.
Speaking with the clergy in attendance (Archimandrite Onufriy, Ihumen Luke, Very Rev. Fr. Valentyn Smoktuniwicz and Rev. Fr. Oleksandr Smoktunowicz of Munich, Germany) and the workers and employees of the medical aid distribution center in the suburbs of Nuremburg, Vladyka Daniel stated:
“These ambulances will save lives and go a step further in ensuring that timely access to emergency care during the war is strengthened and maintained… It is our prayer that these ambulances ensure that first aid can reach patients who need medical transportation… Our ongoing support to empower health-care workers will continue amid the war.”
Archbishop Daniel emphasized that support from the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful from the United States of America is a powerful tool in sustaining the Ukraine’s medical system during wartime.
“…Emergency health-care workers are the first ones to arrive at the scene of an accident and do everything they can to save people’s lives. Thanks to these medical vehicles, health-care workers not only provide timely transport for people who are injured or in critical condition from the accident scene to a medical facility, but also stabilize their condition during transport,” said Vladyka Daniel.
Boxes of sterile medical hospital bedding were loaded in the ambulances as they left for Ukraine.
In the most recent days, the Ukrainian military successfully liberated several villages and towns from the barbaric control of Russian military. In order to facilitate the most necessary medical and charitable (food and logistics) aid, the UOC of the USA provided basic food aid to the residents and refugees of Sviatohirsk. Among dangerous rocket shelling and bombings, Very Rev. Fr. Kostyantyn Kuznetsov with his wife Natalia, traveled to the liberated regions to personally hand nutritional support to those in need.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA is deeply grateful for all the generous people who have stepped forward to be God’s instrument of mercy in Ukraine. This includes our charitable ministry partners in Ukraine, their dedicated teams of religious and lay workers, and faithful friends like you. We ask for your continued prayers to end the invasion attempt of Ukraine, as well as other conflicts around the world.
Together we have shared blessings with Ukraine’s refugees and internally displaced families, but the need continues to grow. By supporting UOC of the USA Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine Fund mission of mercy, you can help rush critical aid, including food, water, sanitary kits, ambulances and other relief.
Photos by Fr. Alexander Smoktunowicz and Fr. Kostyantyn Kuznetsov