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Head of the UGCC: “From St. Peter’s Tomb, we say to Rome and the world: Ukraine stands! Ukraine fights! Ukraine prays!”

September 10, 2023, 22:28 568

On September 10, 2023, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was held at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, presided over by His Beatitude Sviatoslav in concelebration with the bishops of the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. During the communal service, UGCC bishops from all over the world commemorated the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Josaphat and prayed for a just peace in Ukraine. The Liturgy was attended by the Vice-Dean of the College of Cardinals and Prefect Emeritus of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri.

Head of the UGCC: “From St. Peter’s Tomb, we say to Rome and the world: Ukraine stands! Ukraine fights! Ukraine prays!”

“We are living a truly unique holy moment, a moment that will most likely enter the history of both our Church and our nation,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav in his sermon, “Amidst the pain and darkness of the great war, the Lord God gives us a sense of deep joy and true light that never fails. Today, here, to us, gathered at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, the Lord God sends his message: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.’”

His Beatitude Sviatoslav pointed out that St. Josaphat, whose 400th anniversary of martyrdom was celebrated by the bishops of the Synod of the UGCC with this Liturgy, is the only Ukrainian saint whose relics rest in St. Peter’s Basilica. Looking at his figure today, “we see that God’s love in man gives birth to heroes who are able to love as God loves.”

The Head of the UGCC called on the people of Ukraine to listen to St. Josaphat, who today speaks these vital words to Ukrainians who, like David, are fighting Goliath and will win through the power of God: “You and I are in communion with the successor of the Apostle Peter of our days not for political or diplomatic grounds… We are sons and daughters of the Universal Church, for we believe that it was on the rock of the Apostle Peter that Christ founded His Church. And this Peter continues to live, act, and serve through his successors, manifesting the divine and timeless origin of the Church as the Body of Christ. Each of them has his own character, understanding, and way of carrying out Peter’s governance. But we are members of the Ecumenical Church because we believe that in today’s world in particular, the Apostle Peter, through his successors, acts in a special way for the good of Ukraine and our Church in the name of Christ Himself.”

“Today, Josaphat speaks to us: Children of Ukraine, never listen to the voices of those who tell you to renounce this unity. Our Church has survived in all historical epochs. It has withstood those who wanted to liquidate it because it was in unity with the broad, universal family of the Catholic Church. In the same way, Ukraine today will not be able to survive that war without broad international assistance and support at all levels. Ecumenical Catholic Christian solidarity is a necessary condition for the sustainability and survival of our Church and people — a prerequisite for Ukraine’s victory in the struggle between good and evil that our people are waging today,” the Patriarch emphasized.

At the end of the service, the Father and Head of the UGCC thanked Pope Francis, with whom the bishops of the Synod had a special two-hour meeting the day before, during which they had the opportunity to tell him the whole truth about the war in Ukraine.

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Pope Francis met with the Bishops of the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church at the Vatican

“Although Ukraine is facing the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War, thanks to the personal efforts of the Holy Father and the entire Catholic Church, Europe, Canada, the United States, South America, and Australia, this humanitarian crisis has not and probably will not turn into a humanitarian catastrophe. In Ukraine, no one died from cold, hunger or other humanitarian consequences where the power of Catholic love and universal solidarity, the heart and promoter of which is and will be His Holiness Pope Francis, reached,” stated His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

“Therefore, let us tell ourselves the truth and thank the Holy Father and the entire Catholic bishops of the world for the fact that Ukraine is not left alone today, for the fact that we can say to Rome, Ukraine, and the world from the tomb of St. Peter: Ukraine stands! Ukraine is fighting! Ukraine is praying!” added His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The Head of the UGCC also thanked the former Prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, for praying and helping Ukraine, as well as diplomats and ambassadors who attended the service.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav also thanked the members of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, who together at the Synod in Rome this year “were the only powerful voice of Ukraine.”

But especially touching was the Patriarch’s address to the Ukrainians who came in such large numbers (over 2,500) to the largest Christian church in the world.

“I look at you and cry because your Ukraine is crying for you! But I know that God loves us, and we will all return home one day. With the power of love for our homeland, for our people, we will win,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav. “I thank all those who, in Italy or other European countries, are helping Ukraine and the Ukrainian army. The fact that I am with you today, that I am alive, is a miracle! Last year, we should have all been gone from Kyiv. But thanks to the heroism of our guys, our soldiers, girls, and boys, we are alive and have no right to live for ourselves, for our own pleasure. As our Franko used to say: ‘It is time for us to live for Ukraine!’ This is what our human and Christian conscience calls us to do.”

The UGCC Department for Information

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