The XXI International Conference of Military Chaplains took place in Madrid
Already from 1990 military chaplains of different country and different religions of the world meet together. This year the meeting took place in Madrid, Spain, and it was devoted to the role of military chaplains in the Armed Forces.
Ukraine and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church were represented by the Reverend Bishop Mikhail (Koltun), head of department of the patriarchal curia of the UGCC in matters of chaplaincy in the military structures of Ukraine, and his deputy Fr. Lubomyr Yavorskyj. From Ukraine in the conference also took part a representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate. Overall, at the conference there were 150 participants from over 37 countries of the world.
Opening the conference in a military cathedral, military Bishop of Spain Juan del Rio remarked that the “purpose of our meeting is to share experience and search for a way so that the service that the chaplains carry out in the military is formed from the military guards of peace.”
The main themes for discussion during the conference were: religion of cultures and civil society; the contribution the Holy See in the question of human dignity in the UN; the right of freedom of religion and respect to military traditions and values; the necessity of the presence of a chaplain for an army from the military point of view.
During the conference questions were discussed related to military culture and traditions, especially important were the themes about the daily service of chaplains during armed conflicts, for example in Afghanistan; other questions related to the humanitarian help for the victims who suffered from the earthquake in Haiti.
These questions are important for all countries and religions and the fact that there is such ground for the discussion of questions which interest chaplains from different corners of the world help a great deal in addressing the issues and making them possible to resolve. In 2011 the conference will take place in Prague, Czech Republic.
According to Bishop Mikhail (Koltun): “Participation, already for the third time, in the military conference of a world and inter-religious scale is important for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and for Ukraine in general. Participation allows us to be part of this association which in great deal can help to give us the answer for the question of organization of chaplaincy into our state.”
For Information Department told Fr. Lubomyr Yavorskyj