Archbishop Jozef Michalik, head of the Polish Roman Catholic Episcopate, and Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, leader of Ukraine's Greek Catholic Church, were the chief signatories today (June 28, 2013) of a Joint Declaration of Reconciliation document, according to the Religious Information Service of Ukraine website.
The declaration calls on Poles and Ukrainians to "open minds and hearts to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation."
The appeal accompanies the 70th anniversary of the Volhynia massacres, which took place in a Nazi-occupied region that had been divided between Poland and the Soviet Union prior to World War II.
Besides citing "the evil" that was done against ethnic Poles, the resolution also refers to Polish counter-attacks, and the partisan war that unfolded. It is estimated that about 2,000 to 3,000 Ukrainians were killed in Volhynia, and about 20,000 more when fighting spread to other areas of southeast Poland from 1944 to 1947.