Rev. ROMAN KURAKH, Mukachevo Greek Catholic Diocese (Uzhhorod, Ukraine)

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Rev. Roman Kurakh

Rev. Roman Kurakh, priest of the Exaltation of the Cross Cathedral of the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Eparchy, Uzhgorod.

At the divine liturgy on 6 August 2023, Rev. Kurach said a homily in which, in particular, there were the folowing words: “And we very much ask the Lord to do this miracle: to reconcile these two great peoples, Ukraine and Russia, so that they do not fight, do not torture, do not destroy each other, but that these two beautiful peoples build the Kingdom of Heaven already here on earth, and once together they would ascend to heaven embracing each other and glorifying the Lord…”

Journalist Daria Sipihina, who was passing by the cathedral, heard the homily through a loudspeaker and came to express her indignation. She perceived the priest’s words to be a call «to bless the Russians during the war and call to hug those who kill us.» In a verbal exchange, the priest said that his brother was serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but he would still pray for peace even if he died. Sipihina posted a recording of an argument with the priest on Facebook, after which it quickly spread.

Religious figures of Ukraine were also indignant at the sermon. Thus, Bishop Warsonofiy (Rudnik) of Uzhhorod of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine referred to Rev. Kurach as a “Rashist” on Facebook and called on the leadership of the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Eparchy to give a proper assessment to his words.

On 7 August 2023, the eparchy published a statement about the disciplinary rposecution of Rev. Kurakh. It noting that his remark “under the conditions of a devastating war bears the risk of being associated with propaganda narratives about ‘fraternal peoples’, which, unfortunately, exist in some churches affiliated in Russia. The eparchy also distanced itself from any suspicion that within it there may be any tendency towards the ideology of the “Russian world” manifested in the belief in the existence of “fraternal peoples”. At the same time, the statement proclaimed adherence to the Gospel call “to the universal eschatological reconciliation of mankind”.