Austrian Bishops Plan Ukraine Trip in July

PeopleOther ♦ Published: June 22, 2022; 20:17 ♦ (Vindobona)

Archbishop Franz Lackner, president of the Austrian Bishops' Conference, will travel to Ukraine in July with Styrian Bishop Wilhelm Krautwaschl. This was announced by the Bishops' Conference at the end of its summer plenary session.

The Austrian Bishops' Conference takes place thrice a year in the Basilica of Mariazell. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons; Mureccles, CC BY-SA 4.0

Tthe Bishops' Conference took place in Mariazell. Together with the bishops, a total of 60 people from the dioceses and important church institutions, as well as two representatives of the Christian ecumenical community, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Arsenios and the Protestant Bishop Michael Chalupka, took part in the two-day meeting.

Solidarity for Ukraine was once again defined as an important priority. Once again, the bishops called for help and solidarity with all people suffering from the war in Ukraine and the refugees. The conference then declared that the bishops will travel to Ukraine to show their solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

The two bishops will first attend the Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Church on July 11, which will be held this time in Przemysl, Poland, due to the war. Afterward, they will meet in Lviv with top representatives of politics, of the two Orthodox churches in Ukraine, and with the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church there. A visit to aid projects is also on the agenda.

Although the readiness to help in Austria is unbrokenly high, it cannot be taken for granted, "and we must continue to keep our hearts and homes open for all victims of this inhuman violence," the bishops appeal. The commitment to Ukraine also includes the willingness to "consciously accept disadvantages here in our country that result from the solidarity of the free world with Ukraine".

The Bishops conference also urges "perspectives of hope" for Ukraine. They noted that the Austrian bishops, along with other bishops in Europe, support the political intentions to open EU accession status for Ukraine.

In Mariazell, where the conference took place, the Mother of God Mary is invoked as "Mater Gentium Slavorum" (Mother of the Slavic Peoples). Therefore it has a special religious significance when the bishops dedicated the prayer to the people of Ukraine. The bishops stressed in this context, "We bishops entrust the people of Ukraine to her and ask for a speedy and just peace for them."

Episcopal Conference of Austria