UETS Student Becomes First Female Chaplain Officer

Головна UETS Student Becomes First Female Chaplain Officer

April 1, 2023, has become a truly historic day for Ukraine – the first cohort of 30 military chaplains from five religious organizations have completed a special 6-week military training course by the Military Institute of National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv and received official Chaplain Officer rank of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. 


Though serving at the frontline since the outbreak of war in 2014, Ukrainian chaplains have not officially been part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Now with the new law that went into force on July 1, 2022, and this new military training program, Ukrainian military chaplains have officially become a separate structure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.


UETS faculty member Fedir Raychynets, Head of the UETS Theology Department, participated in the training as one of the invited lecturers.  At the same time, one of UETS students of the Transformative Leadership Program, Oleksandra Andriyashyna, has completed this training, thus becoming the very first female chaplain with a junior lieutenant rank in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Now along with the rest of the newly appointed Chaplain Officers, she sets off to the frontline to serve the military unit that she’s assigned to.


Here is what Oleksandra says about her chaplaincy path, the state of the military during hostilities, and the mission of Christians in this war in an interview with the Religious Information Service of Ukraine:


“When the war started, my friends and I started going to the war frontline as volunteers, and then we realized that there were enough volunteers already. People immediately began to help the army back then in 2014 very actively. However, we could see that due to high-intensity war actions, many of our defenders were killed, so what we want (this has never been voiced) is to bring two main things to the soldiers: first of all, the Good News that the Lord is with them, He protects, blesses, and helps. Secondly, and this is what has not been voiced – if the Lord knows in advance that the soldier will soon die, then there is a need to prepare the soldier’s soul to meet with the Lord, to remind him of God’s love, grace, and mercy. <…>


The Lord somehow opened the doors for us, led us, and showed us that the spiritual aspect, the spiritual, moral, emotional, and psychological support of our defenders and their families, had to become our priority. This priority stood out for us because we are very short of chaplains. There is a big need for them” (read the full version of the interview under the link http://bit.ly/3KtBR2r ).


Congratulations to Oleksandra Andriyashyna from the entire UETS community! We are very proud that our students are active changemakers in our society.

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