THURSDAY, 10 MARCH 2022: Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe has expressed his deep gratitude to the many, many people who have responded to the Diocese’s appeal for financial aid to help the refugees and those who are suffering in Ukraine on account of the current terrible bloodshed.

‘I express my heartfelt appreciation to all those in our parishes, which held a special collection for Ukraine this past Sunday,’ the Bishop said today, ‘as well as the many individuals who have donated one-by-one via our on-line appeal. Today I have instructed the Diocesan Chancellor to initiate the transfer of the first tranche of funds to Ukraine — a sum that I am pleased to say is in excess of £18,000 (approx €21,450 EUR), which will be transferred electronically directly to the ‘Peace to You’ charitable fund established by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to be applied directly to aiding refugees and those who are suffering the most on account of this terrible bloodshed.’

‘I also wish to point out,’ His Grace added, ‘that these funds are in addition to the many other labours being undertaken by our Diocese and its parishes, to aid those who are suffering in Ukraine, as well as those fleeing as refugees. These efforts include the collections of medicines and supplies; the organisation of shelter for those arriving in our territories; working with local governments throughout our Diocese to aid those of new refugee status; and many other efforts. In all these things, genuine love is being shown: brother for brother, sister for sister, in the name of the peace brought by Christ and the unity He desires for all His children.’

‘When we as the bishops of Europe released our statement on 22nd February,’ the Bishop went on to say, ‘urging an end to what at that time were mounting tensions in and around Ukraine, we could hardly have imagined that only two days later these would turn into outright bloodshed on a scale we could not have envisaged and which certainly we hoped would never be seen. As things have become so much more tragic since then, it inspires the heart that so many Orthodox Christians have risen up to support the suffering, as we all pray fervently for peace and a swift end to the current tragedy.’

To those who have not yet donated to support the funds appeal, this continues to be possible via the Diocese’s web site appeal page.