The controversy over the Via Crucis on Good Friday celebrated at the Colosseum yesterday evening, April 7, had already begun during the day with the attack, a few hours before the start, by the Ukrainian ambassador to the Vatican, Andrii Yurash, on meditation scheduled for the tenth station of a young Russian and a Ukrainian. Now the spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, is expressing himself in harsh tones. “Unfortunately we have to say that this year’s move has once again been eclipsed by the attempt to equate victim and aggressor,” he wrote on Facebook, while reiterating his gratitude to the Pope “for his concern for Ukraine.” The spokesman commented on what happened in the celebration that Pope Francis followed from Santa Marta, due to the too low temperatures in Rome. “We are disappointed that the Holy See did not take into account the Ukrainian arguments on the offensive nature of the gesture. The joint participation of a Ukrainian and a Russian distorts reality,” he explained, “and attempts to establish equality between Ukraine and Russia are not conducive to reconciliation.” After the criticisms of the Ukrainian ambassador to the Vatican against the story of the Russian boy about the loss of his brother in the war and about his father and grandfather now missing, foreseen in the meditation of the tenth station, Kiev seemed to be waiting for a step back from the Holy See. A meeting point like the one that last year the Vatican undertook to find after the dissent expressed by Yurash on the two women, one Russian and one Ukrainian, chosen in 2022 for the thirteenth station and on their meditation. After the criticisms, the text of the prayer was eliminated, leaving that specific moment of the celebration in symbolic silence. This year, however, Yurash’s criticism did not suffer the same effect. The tenth station envisaged that the two chosen young people would be present during the prayer with the original text thought from the beginning.
«Distortion of reality that discredits the values of peace and brotherhood»
The foreign minister’s spokesman resents what has now happened: «Yesterday Good Friday a great religious event took place in Rome, the procession. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, faith over contempt. Nikolenko gets to the point: «These are texts read during the 10th station of the Holy Procession: in the name of a Ukrainian teenager who found refuge in Italy after the capture of Mariupol by Russian troops, and of a Russian boy, brother of a soldier who lost his life, and with his father and grandfather gone as participants in the Russian foreign war against Ukraine,” he explains. «The joint participation of a Ukrainian and a Russian distorts the reality that Russia has brought down the Ukrainians, carrying out a genocide against them. More than anything else, this step undermines the principles of justice and common human morality, it discredits the concept of peace and brotherhood”. The attack continues: «Attempts to establish equality between the suffering Ukraine and Russia are not conducive to reconciliation. Reconciliation can come only after the Ukrainian victory, the punishment of all Russian offenders, repentance for the suffering caused and asking for forgiveness from the Ukrainians”. Then the final invitation: “We expect the Holy See to continue to follow an approach based on a profound understanding of justice and responsibility for the restoration of peace in Ukraine and the establishment of justice”.
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