BRAMA, October 25, 2007, 9:00 am ET|
UAOC Bishop condemns recent anti-semitism in Ukraine
Calls for Annual Holocaust Memorial Day
Bishop Paul Peter Jesep, who serves as Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations in the United States by Appointment to His Beatitude Metropolitan Myfodii of Kyiv and All Ukraine of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate (UAOC), Ukraine's third largest Orthodox Church, issued a personal statement calling on the government of President Viktor Yuschenko to designate an annual, national Holocaust Memorial and Awareness Day to help address the rising trend of anti-Semitism.
"The rise in anti-Semitism against Ukrainian citizens must be aggressively addressed," Bishop Jesep said. "Whatever efforts that have been made have failed. There is not only a legal need to punish hate crimes, but also an ongoing need for vigilance that changes cultural and societal attitudes," said Bishop Jesep.
Referring to recent attacks against Ukrainian-Jewish citizens in Zhitomir, Sevastopol, Cherkassy and Uzhgorod he added, "These sins cannot be tolerated by either the government or the Church. All Church leaders have a moral duty to forcefully speak out against this evil. Although passage and rigorous enforcement of anti-hate crime laws is critical to addressing the problem, the Church and government must work together to address the sociological issues as well."
"One of several ways to address cultural and societal anti-Semitism is to call for an annual Holocaust Memorial and Awareness Day," Bishop Jesep said. "The Holocaust was not just a crime against the Jewish people. It was a crime against the entire Ukrainian nation. It was a crime against humanity. It was a moral crime against sisters and brothers equally loved by the same God. Ukrainians, regardless of their faith, must take the time to remember and understand the horror of the Holocaust and what it meant for their nation and for all humanity."
* * * * *
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