Ukraine’s Independence Day on 24 August 2023 will also mark 18 months of the full-scale invasion that is continuously bringing suffering to people in Ukraine and around the world.
The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation (DLTLF) and the Ukrainian Association of South Africa (UAZA) have invited religious leaders from different denominations to join us in a prayer for Just Peace in Ukraine and all sites of war and conflict around the world.
War and conflict in any part of the world results in devastating consequences to humanity. Whether in Palestine, Sudan, Ukraine, and elsewhere, the cause of peace and justice is one that all people in the global community should concern themselves with.
Earlier this year, representatives of religious organisations in Ukraine, which included Orthodox and Catholic Churches, Evangelical Christians-Baptists, the Jewish community, the Muslim community, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, issued a collective appeal for support from the international community. The appeal was made “on behalf of millions of our faithful who, under Russian missiles and shells, pray, work and protect the most valuable gift of God – life on our land, people’s rights and their dignity.”
The statement said:
The war has brought enormous suffering to these people, with the people’s freedom, their religious beliefs, having effectively become the initial target of the Russian occupiers. In eleven months, they destroyed or ransacked more than 270 churches and sacred buildings, killed and tortured to death dozens of clergymen.
CEO of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Janet Jobson, noted:
Archbishop Tutu was a powerful voice for peace in all societies. He helped us all to see that in the dehumanisation of any person, we dehumanise ourselves. That the oppression of any person, community, or society is an affront to our collective humanity.
She noted that Archbishop Tutu was a powerful leader standing against war around the world. When he led a protest march of thousands in the streets of New York against the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, he famously chanted:
What do we say to war? No!
What do we say to death and destruction? No! What do we say to peace? Yes!
What do we say to life? Yes!
What do you say to compassion? Yes!
Bringing together leaders from a multi-denominational community, across Christian denominations, the Jewish community, and the Muslim community, this interfaith prayer will give voice to a collective desire for peace and justice around the world, and specifically in Ukraine.
Before the prayers the UAZA and DLTLF will provide a brief about the current humanitarian consequences of the war in Ukraine, and what South Africans can do to stand against the invasion.
Details of the event are as follows:
Date: 23 August 2023
Time: 09:30 – 11:30
Venue: Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, The Old Granary Building, 11 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town
(Parking is available nearby at Harrington Square, corner of Harrington and Caledon Streets.)
9.30 – 10.00 – arrival and refreshments
10.00-10.30 – statements by UAZA and DLTLF
10.30-10.40 – personal stories of people who faced the war in Ukraine
10.40-11.20 – Interfaith prayers by different South African denominations
11.20 – 11.25 – Ukrainian prayer sang by Svitlana Sheremet
About the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation
Founded in 2011, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation represents one of the world’s most iconic leaders, and his life-long partner. The Foundation strives to ensure their uncompromised bravery is celebrated, communicated and curated for posterity. Visit www.tutu.org.za
About the Ukrainian Association of South Africa
Ukrainian Association of South Africa (NPO 189-705) is a collaborative association registered in May 2017 that promotes networks between Ukrainians and South Africans for mutual development, increased awareness and inner growth of individuals and societies. For more information contact us via [email protected]
● Russian military forces have murdered at least 26 religious leaders, tortured others and imprisoned many for their religious beliefs.
● The Russian Federation continues to persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses, banned in Russia as an extremist organisation in 2017 without any convincing reasons.
● At least 494 religious buildings, theological institutions, and sacred places were wholly destroyed, damaged, or looted by the Russian military (as of January 2023)
● Russian authorities have closed, nationalised, or forcefully converted at least 26 places of worship to the Kremlin-controlled Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, killed or seized at least 29 clergy or religious leaders, and looted, desecrated, or deliberately destroyed at least 13 places of worship in occupied Ukraine (as of April 2023).
● Russian occupation officials have been repressing Ukrainian religious communities in the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine and in illegally occupied Crimea since 2014. 96 Muslim Crimean Tatars remain imprisoned, many have been tortured, and one has died in incarceration.
● Residents of the temporarily occupied Crimea, in particular those belonging to national minorities and indigenous peoples of Ukraine, continue to be drafted into the Russian army in the process of military conscription and so-called “partial mobilisation”. Representatives of the Crimean Tatar people were given at least 1,500 military summonses. Such actions represent a direct and gross violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and other norms of international humanitarian law.
● Institute for Religious Freedom, Ukraine https://irf.in.ua/p/105
● List of religious sites ruined in Ukraine as a result of Russia’s full-scale attack
● ISW Report on Russia’s religious repressions throughout occupied Ukraine since the start of the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022
● Ukrainian Council Of Churches Appeal here >>>