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Who is a military chaplain and what role does he play in war?

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Who is a military chaplain and what role does he play in war?

Military chaplains fight alongside other soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but in the spiritual sphere. Find out more about chaplaincy in Ukraine, what are the main tasks of military clergy and why their role at the front is also important

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On October 25, Ukraine celebrates the Day of the Military Chaplain, a person whose main task is to be there for and support the morale of military personnel. The legal status of chaplains is enshrined in national and international laws, and their status is equal to that of military personnel who also fight at the front, but in the spiritual sphere.


Who are the military chaplains of Ukraine, how many clergymen serve in the Armed Forces and what role they play at the front - we will tell you further in the article.


Who is a military chaplain and who can be one in Ukraine?


Military chaplains are representatives of the clergy who meet the religious needs of soldiers in the army and at the front in wartime. Typically, chaplains monitor the morale of soldiers, conduct worship services, adjust soldiers before battle, support soldiers and their civilian families, bless weapons, and perform funeral services for fallen soldiers.


In addition, chaplains are officially equated with deputy regimental or battalion commanders. As a rule, they have a personal assistant and an armed adjutant, because chaplains themselves do not perform combat missions related to the destruction of the enemy.


A representative of a religious organization who is a citizen of Ukraine and has a mandate to carry out military chaplaincy activities can join the Armed Forces as a chaplain.


How many chaplains serve in the Armed Forces?


According to Colonel Oleksiy Tereshchuk, Head of the Military Chaplaincy Service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, there are currently more than 738 military chaplain positions in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. At the same time, 244 clergymen received mandates, and 78 officers were appointed to the positions of full-time military chaplains. 


However, Tereshchuk notes that receiving a mandate does not mean that a priest immediately becomes a military chaplain.


"There is a certain procedure, and as of today, 78 full-time military chaplains have already been appointed, who have received a military rank and signed a contract. After being appointed, a military chaplain undergoes special training. The training includes not only pastoral care or educational work, but also counseling, especially for the commander," he explained.


Most of the chaplains in Ukraine are represented by the priests of the OCU, who are subordinate to the Synodal Department of Military Clergy. However, in addition to them, there are also chaplains from the Department of Military Chaplaincy of the UGCC, chaplains from the First Ukrainian Battalion of Military Chaplains from Protestant pastors, and imams - Muslim chaplains.




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What role does a military chaplain play in war?


The main task of a chaplain at war is to be there for his colleagues and stabilize their morale, reminding them who they are and why they are here and now. In international practice, a military chaplain should remain a pastor under any circumstances, because this is where his authority is based and where his strength lies.


Officers without weapons in their hands fulfill the same important mission as those who go directly into battle, because from the point of view of psychology, a person at war begins to believe in God much more than in civilian life.


Why has russia turned even chaplains into propagandists?


One of the important parts of the work of chaplains in Ukraine is to remind their brothers that they came to defend their own, and the destruction of the enemy is not a sin, but, on the contrary, the will of God. 


At the same time, russian church representatives on the battlefield, under the influence of the russian authorities, have become real propagandists, betraying the basic principles that a pastor should adhere to. Since 2014, they have been turning black into white, forcing russians to commit atrocities on foreign soil. 


We remind you! In the first reading, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a bill that should begin the process of banning the moscow patriarchate in Ukraine. Read more about why the parliament could not vote for the ban for more than 10 months and what will change after the adoption in our previous article.


Photo: Ivan Nikolayev (TASS)


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