The Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the Philippine capital, also known as the Manila Cathedral, was covered with blue and yellow lights on Wednesday to show the local Church’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
“We are one with the call of our Holy Father: ‘May weapons be silenced! God is with peacemakers, not with those who use violence,’” read a social media post of the Manila Cathedral.
Also on Wednesday, the country’s Catholic bishops joined Pope Francis’ call for fasting and prayer for an end to the war in Ukraine.
“The Lord Himself taught us that there is no other way to combat the enticements of the devil especially among those who are obsessed with power, wealth and fame, other than prayer, fasting and acts of charity,” said Bishop Pablo Virigilio David, president of the bishops’ conference, in a statement.
“We also invoke the intercession of the Blessed Mother as we pray that the Lord move the consciences of the Russian people so that they themselves will be able to do the necessary steps in order to pressure their government to stop the war it has started,” he said.
Expressing “great pain” at the worsening situation in Ukraine, Pope Francis has earlier called for people to mark the beginning of Lent with fasting and prayer for peace.
The Philippine bishops deplored the war and voiced solidarity with the people of Ukraine who “are now asking for prayers.”
“Nobody is happy about war except those in the arms industries who make huge profits and stand to benefit from the disputes among nations,” said Bishop David.
The Catholic University of Santo Tomas also lighted the facade of its main building with the colors of Ukraine on Wednesday night.
“Our National Cultural Treasures are illuminated in blue and yellow tonight in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine,” read a post on the university’s Facebook page.
“May the hostilities end at the soonest possible time to prevent further bloodshed,” it added.
The Philippines this week supported a resolution at the UN General Assembly for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
In a statement at the emergency special session of the UN General Assembly, the Philippines called for an end to hostilities, saying that “while an offense can be stopped at will, the defense cannot rest until the offense stops.”
The Philippines also called for “massive assistance commensurate with the growing humanitarian crisis” and said that people caught in the conflict must have safe access to humanitarian assistance.
Manila noted that the UN charter recognizes the sovereignty and sovereign equality of states and that states must “refrain from the use of force against the political independence and territorial integrity of any state.”
“We especially condemn the use of separatism and secession as a weapon of diplomacy for inviting and inflicting terrible cruelties and indiscriminate killings far in excess of that of any other kind of conflict,” the Philippines said.