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Ukraine: Pope Francis apologized to Ukrainian youth

24. August 2023

Ukrainian youth from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) and the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) in Ukraine had a personal audience with His Holiness Pope Francis. During the meeting at the Apostolic Nunciature in Lisbon, the young Ukrainians, accompanied by the Deputy Head of the UGCC Commission for Youth Affairs, Father Roman Demush, shared their wounds, sorrows, and the war in Ukraine. This was reported by the Information Department of the UGCC.

The youth presented symbolic gifts to the Pope, speaking about the danger faced in Ukraine today, not only from Russian missiles and bullets but also from hunger, sheaves of wheat, wedding bread, and Zhraychanska water, all of which our nation is in desperate need of. These gifts became symbols of the suffering Ukraine: bread, which the enemy destroys, and water, which many people in Ukraine need - dozens of tons were sent to the regions of our country affected by massive enemy attacks.

Among the delegation was a priest's family. Mrs. Iryna Bilska handed fragments of rockets that fell in the churchyard in Boryslav (Kherson Oblast) to the Pope and told how their church became a shelter for thousands of people. She also emphasized the suffering of Ukrainian families who cannot be together due to the war.

"This meeting was very emotional. The Pope listened attentively and empathetically wiped the tears of the Ukrainian youth who came to tell him the truth about the war and how Russia is destroying lives in Ukraine. Pope Francis spoke very briefly, assuring of his prayers for Ukraine. The Holy Father also asked for forgiveness from the youth for his inability to do more, stressing that evil is very cunning," said Father Roman Demush, a participant in the meeting and Deputy Head of the Patriarchal Commission for Youth Affairs of the UGCC. He also added, "This meeting provided another opportunity for the youth, more than 500 people who came for the World Youth Days, to be the voice of Ukraine, which suffers, to tell the truth about the war in our country, to bear witness to the suffering Christ and to meet the risen Christ." (Quelle:, 3. August 2023)