"These are challenging and historic times, but united, we are happy.”
Pope Francis welcomed the major archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, on Monday morning.
The major archbishop thanked the Pope for his support and solidarity during the mass demonstrations these past few months. After the peaceful protests turned violent, Pope Francis made repeated calls for peace.
During those protests, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church sided with demonstrators and tended to the wounded. But, tensions remain high in the Eastern European country.
The Crimean peninsula voted to break away from Ukraine and join Russia, even at the risk of international sanctions.
Shevchuk has constantly called on all countries, including Russia, to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine. The Church has also reported that armed men have threatened Greek-Catholic priests, and asked them to leave the Crimean region. But, the priests refused to leave their congregations behind.