Austrian rescue vehicles arrived in Kyiv

Nine of the twelve ambulances that were blessed on Ballhausplatz in mid-February by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, and sent on their way arrived in Kiev on time on Saturday. According to Kathpress, the Vicar General for the Eastern Catholic Churches in Austria, Yuriy Kolasa, handed over the emergency vehicles to the head of the Catholics of the Byzantine rite, Major Archbishop Svyatoslav Shevchuk, at the Kiev Resurrection Cathedral.

He blessed the vehicles and thanked Cardinal Christoph Schönborn and the Austrian donors. Major Archbishop Shevchuk reminded that in this war many people are risking their own lives to save other people. “These ambulances will now be distributed to various institutions and used in different areas,” said the Major Archbishop. He had already informed the Minister of Health of Ukraine about the donation from Austria. Shevchuk stressed that the handover took place under tragic circumstances, “because that morning rockets were flying over Kiev, and in our church the blessing of ambulances took place, which will save lives.”

Regarding the role of his church, he said in the presence of Ukrainian and international media: “What we receive, we pass on to those in need. The church is a space of love and international solidarity. The church knows exactly where help is needed.” His church wants to “raise the voice for the suffering people in Ukraine and say thank you to all Austrian donors”. Shevchuk continues: “We believe that the hand that gives will not go away empty-handed. May God reward those who give tenfold and a hundredfold.”

The Austrian Ambassador Arad Benkö was also present when the vehicle was handed over. He told Kathpress: “The Austrian support for Ukraine is very impressive in the humanitarian field. These rescue vehicles can save lives. The population is incredibly grateful, I can feel that on many visits.” The church helps “especially in those areas that are close to the front”. Benko recalled that the Austrians’ willingness to help Ukraine also had historical reasons. Friendship with Austria is particularly strong in western Ukraine.

The Vicar General for the Catholic Eastern Churches in Austria, Kolasa, who comes from Lviv (Lemberg), is staying in Ukraine on behalf of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn until Tuesday for a solidarity trip. He has already held numerous talks with bishops, priests, war victims and government representatives. As the only church dignitary from Austria, he took part in two episcopal consecrations on Wednesday in Ivano-Frankivsk and on Sunday in Kiev.

Kolasa recently visited humanitarian projects of the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine, such as the “House of Mercy” in Lemberg (Lviv) and the St. Luke’s Clinic in Ivano-Frankivsk. Kolasa presented the humanitarian projects and several bishops from the occupied territories with significant sums of money from Austrian donations, a large part of which was collected from the Diocese of Eisenstadt and the other part by Cardinal Schönborn.

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