The UN estimates 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion.(Photo: MSNBC)

A Polish cardinal has praised the “strong faith” of Ukrainians after a pastoral visit to their country to pray with them and see firsthand the humanitarian response to the war.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski met with religious leaders as well as refugees and volunteers and said he had prayed “a lot” during his visit.

He told Vatican News that he had seen many tired women “fleeing with children in their arms”, but also a lot of “goodwill”, with “many volunteers” and “many donors”, and people opening their homes to take in refugees. 

“I saw great suffering but strong faith in Ukraine,” he said. 

The cardinal also met with mayors and civic leaders. Despite the war, he said there was a sense of hope for the future. 

“We prayed and talked about the near future. There is great hope for the future but the weapons must be stopped and the sun must finally rise over Ukraine as well,” he said. 

Asked what struck him most about his visit to the country, he said it was the stream of women heading for the border. 

“It is always the women; even today I saw many women with children going towards the border. You can see that people are very tired from so many days of travel,” he said. 

“But on the other hand, you experience this incredible welcome and the help. So I have to say that besides the suffering, there is also great hope and love.” 

He added, “I am leaving this country greatly inspired, because I have met people with great faith, belonging to all faiths. This too offers hope, a hope for unity.”

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