“Here life flows calmly without panic, the factories work, the bombing of the airport caused no casualties, they hit an old disused warehouse, and no one knows why. Now we are used to running underground in shelters”.
These are some of the updates reported to Fides by Fr. Mikola Orach, OFM Conv, in Lviv. The priest, who is parish priest at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in the Ukrainian town, continues: “Refugees pass through us and then go to the train station, where they usually spend one or two nights. We have a number of reception centers for refugees who remain in the city, including a Franciscan monastery outside Lviv where we host 80 refugees in a large house, half of whom are children. There we have organized an online school and our friars also give spiritual support and catechesis to those who want it. We are receiving a lot of help from Romania, Poland, and Hungary. They bring us clothes, blankets, food. With the help we receive, we also help other war zones”.
In his testimony, Father Mikola nevertheless underlined the value of peace: “But here we don’t just need food, we need peace! In the city, here in Lviv, we don’t feel so hungry anymore, we miss peace, our life has changed so much and we no longer have peace of mind. Many people can’t sleep because of air raids. There is never a moment of serenity. War is not romantic …”
Father Mikola is a privileged observer of the conflict. He lives in Lviv, a hub city for fleeing refugees and for the arrival of volunteers and weapons. In his testimony offered to Fides, the friar wants to promote the value of peace and the absolute lack of romanticism of war, in line with Pope Francis and in response to those who speak of metaphysical war.