Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has just approved a new emergency aid package for six monasteries sheltering hundreds of displaced persons in western Ukraine. This will allow the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s Basilian monks to continue helping those who fled the fighting.

The new ACN aid for the six houses of the Basilian Order of St Josaphat is in addition to the immediate emergency aid in support of priests and religious across Ukraine helping those suffering because of the war.

The IDP crisis has placed an enormous financial burden on the monks, as the price of utilities such as electricity and water has risen sharply. They also have other expenses, such as medicine for the sick.

The Basilian’s provincial house in Briukhovychi, near Lviv, is caring for 150 women and children.

One displaced woman at the Briukhovychi monastery spoke to ACN about her plight. She said: “It is very difficult. Our men stayed to fight, and we left, I left with four children.

“I don’t know what to say, I am afraid, very afraid. We are from Kyiv, and the situation there is terrible at the moment.”

As with many parents, concern for her children’s safety prompted her to flee.

Indicating the child she was holding, she said: “She is two months old. We try to keep her as safe as we can, at least for now.

“We had to leave our husbands and I came with my daughter-in-law, her baby and two teenagers. This is how it is – we never expected it.”

IDPs are allowed to stay in the monastery for as long as they need to.

Many of the women who arrive are not looking to leave the country, and want to return home as soon as the fighting is over.

This includes Halyna, one of the 130 IDPs being cared for at the Basilian’s historic Monastery of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Buchach.

Originally from Makariv, near Kyiv, she left when the Russian bombardment meant it was too dangerous to remain.