A couple of years ago, jumping off of this appreciation by Katrina Fernandez, I chronicled a few Catholic priests who had put themselves in the middle of danger, in astonishing ways, for love of Christ and humanity.
Currently, there are terrible stories, violent images and reported deaths coming out of Ukraine, as citizens and journalists have attempted to peacefully demonstrate for their right — the very basic human right — to be able to freely question and protest against public policy without undue limitation. Amid the photo essays are pictures like these:
An Orthodox priest here places himself between the frustrated mobs and the armed soldiers; urging calm, he holds up the cross. Note the rifle, poised, behind him. He is directly in the line of fire, where he clearly feels called to be.
Priests tend to do stuff like this. In fact, while people may misunderstand and deride the vows of celibacy taken by Catholics priests, and also by Orthodox monks, these Christ-minded men consistently show the sort of toughness that is conceived and nurtured within a most paradoxical tenderness; in pictures like these, they are the very model of forthright masculinity, quite unlike anything preferred by the pop culture.
Let us pray for the people at risk in Kiev, and the ones fighting, throughout Ukraine, to insure their fundamental freedoms. And let us thank God that they have priests and monks like these, willing to go amid the violence and stand for the way of peace.
Although they were invited to join the “people”, the fathers only prayed and sang the Paschal troparion: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life,” wrote the Ramensky deanery of Moscow on its facebook page. The conflict ceased.
More pics of priests and monks stepping into danger found here
UPDATE: They’re going to need those priests, because things are heating up and the jackboot doesn’t even need the shadows, anymore. As Tom McDonald is pointing out technology is being used against the Kiev protesters.
Kiev is exploding in protests as Ukraine’s president attempts to move the country away from EU membership and closer into the Russian orbit.
On Tuesday, anyone in the vicinity of the protests received the following message on their phones: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
We know who you are now and you can expect a visit.
I knew the tech existed, but the idea of it being deployed in such a blatantly totalitarian and oppressive way still shocks. Anyone with an active cellphone in that area is identified, complete with a list of contacts and just about everything else anyone needs to know. They don’t even need to be participating in the protest. Just nearby.
Read the rest of Tom’s piece here, and don’t be embarrassed to admit that your blood chills a little at the ease with which we are all now watched and counted. And “registered.” Coming soon to a mass or March for Life near you. And our priests can’t stand between us and that.
That prayer of the monks can be heard in the last 30 seconds of this haunting chant: