Bishop Mykola Bychok (Ukrainian Catholic Church) was one of the 3 faith leaders invited to speak at the Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees on Sunday April 2nd. He was accompanied by Rev Dc Michael Zylan. Bishop Bychok’s speech is below.
Today for me it is a great honour to be with you, to support you and to share with you the pain of my native country Ukraine. Ukrainians are well aware of the fate of emigrants and refugees. For more than 130 years, a large number of our people have emigrated to Brazil and Argentina, then to Canada and the USA, and after the Second World War to Australia and the countries of Western Europe.
Today’s migration of Ukrainians is the genocide of our nation. In just one year of the terrible war, 16 million people left their homes: 8 million internally displaced persons and 8 million displaced around the world. We all know that the fate of a refugee or emigrant is not easy, but on the contrary, it is very difficult and tragic. Saving their lives, they are looking for a better fate for themselves, but they find humiliation, helplessness and sometimes the end of their lives outside their native land. A similar fate is common to many peoples, not only Ukrainian. It is frightening to think, but the Mediterranean Sea becomes a cemetery for about 10,000 refugees from poor African countries every year.
Let us pray and support the nation of Ukraine, as well as Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria and Ethiopia, who left their homes due to war or political persecution. Let us remember that the first refugee was Jesus Christ, who was persecuted by King Herod. His parents, the Holy Mother of God and St. Joseph, fled from Bethlehem to Egypt to save his life. May the same Lord bless and help all refugees in Australia and around the world!