[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church hosted an online prayer vigil to lament the human harm caused by violence and conflict on Feb. 24, the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Participants offered prayers for the people of Ukraine and Russia, people displaced by the war, and those living in countries across the region. They also called for a peaceful resolution to the crisis, one that would prevent further human suffering. The vigil was organized by the Friends Committee on National Legislation and The Episcopal Church.
An estimated 200,000 soldiers have been killed or injured fighting on both sides. And the United Nations Human Rights Office estimates 8,000 non-combatants have been confirmed dead over, though the actual number “is likely to be substantially higher.”
Earlier in the day, The Episcopal Church’s Washington-D.C.-based Office of Government Relations issued the following statement:
“Feb. 24th marks the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Thousands of people have died, with many more being injured or displaced as a result of this war. We lament the loss of life and the human suffering this conflict has caused. Last year, the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church passed a resolution calling for the cessation of conflict in Ukraine and encouraged “good-faith negotiations in which Ukraine’s sovereignty and security are assured.
“The war in Ukraine has caused an extensive humanitarian crisis both in and outside the country. As the war enters a second year, it will be imperative for the U.S. government and others in the international community to continue providing financial and material resources to address humanitarian needs caused by this war. The recent humanitarian appeal for Ukraine calls for $3.9 billion that’s needed to provide food, healthcare, and other life-saving assistance to 11.1 million people. During his remarks to the United Nations Security Council, Martin Griffiths, the United Nation’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, called on “us all to push forward with renewed vigor to give the people of Ukraine the peace and support they need and deserve.” The Office of Government Relations will continue to advocate for humanitarian assistance for the people of Ukraine and for a constructive resolution to the conflict as well as in other areas of violence and deprivation.”