Clergy Social Activity During War Conditions: The Case of Western Regions of Ukraine
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In this article, the authors analyze the impact of Russia-Ukraine war on church-religious life and the state of public consciousness in Ukraine and identify the main trends and contradictions in public reactions to threats to their lives and spirituality. The research focuses on religious communities of the western regions of Ukraine and their socially significant activities. The primary empirical source of the article was the study (by questionnaire survey) of the opinions of the clergy of this religious organization on the characteristics of parish life and the role of the pastor in the conditions of war. Three defining vectors that we can identify from the questionnaire are the assessment of the importance and resolution of the issue of chaplaincy ministry; the contribution of religious communities in Ukraine to the volunteer movement during the war; the extent of the believers' need for moral and psychological rehabilitation and the ability of ministers to provide appropriate spiritual care to those suffering from war or its consequences. The findings point to the high level of social responsibility of clergies and religious communities in the face of Russian Federation armed aggression. Individual clergymen's responses, as well as the concreteness of the decisions enshrined in documents of the Ukrainian churches and its religious leaders’ statements, highlight their desire to fulfill not only missionary-soteriological and spiritual-rehabilitation tasks, but also several specific socially required functions. To begin with, the most of Ukrainian churches are now large volunteer hubs with a high level of public trust, with each congregation operating its own activities. Another major aspect of such activity is the socio-psychological and pastoral care provided to soldiers while they are on active duty.