: Pope announces special collection for Ukraine in European churches (updated)
Society15:43 Apr. 4, 2016
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Pope announces special collection for Ukraine in European churches (updated)

More than 9,000 people were killed since Russia invaded Ukraine

Pope Francis announced on Sunday, April 3, that a special collection would be taken up in all of Europe's Roman Catholic churches on April 24 to raise funds to help the people of Ukraine.

Read also Ukraine's President meets the Pope

Speaking to tens of thousands of people at a Mass in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis said"My thoughts go to all the people who are most thirsty for reconciliation and peace. I think, in particular here in Europe, the plight of those who suffer the consequences of violence in Ukraine: how many remain in the lands devastated by the hostilities that have already caused several thousands of deaths, and how many more - over a million - were driven to leave by the serious persistent situation."

Implementation of a deal agreed in Minsk last year and a lull in violence late last year had raised hopes that the conflict that has killed more than 9,000 people could be resolved soon. However violence has intensified recently in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed sepratist forces.

Read also Pope calls for dialogue over worsening Ukraine situation

The vast majority of Christians living in Ukraine are Orthodox but there are about a million Roman Catholics and about four million Eastern Rite Catholics who are in unity with Rome.

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