Head of the UGCC on the first anniversary of the full-scale invasion: Ukraine’s victory will be a triumph of God’s power over human lust and sin

February 24, 2023, 18:00 69

On the first anniversary of the full-scale war that the Russian occupier and aggressor brought to our land, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, in his last address, thanked all those who fought, fighting today and will continue to fight until Ukraine’s absolute victory. The whole world is watching this struggle unfolding in Ukraine today.

Head of the UGCC on the first anniversary of the full-scale invasion: Ukraine’s victory will be a triumph of God’s power over human lust and sin

The Primate noted that the year we experienced was a year of pain, tears, and blood, a year of struggle, remarkable courage, and resilience of the sons and daughters of our Motherland. But at the same time, it was a year of incredible faith and hope that the Lord has not abandoned us and that He is and will be the origin and pledge of our life and victory.

The spiritual leader noted that last year we inadvertently recall how it all began in Kyiv on that terrible morning of February 24, 2022. We all woke up to the explosions of missiles and bombs.

“I remember,” he said, “that we could see from here, on the left bank of the Dnipro, upper Kyiv on the right bank burning. We saw Russian helicopters circling over our Patriarchal Cathedral. I asked: ‘Lord, why did You allow us to see this? Why is this happening to us?’ Jeremiah seemed to see similar pictures when he watched the Babylonian invaders destroy Jerusalem and wept over the city. A year ago, we wept like that over our Kyiv, which became the first target of a Russian attack.”

“That morning, under the bombs,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav continued, “we were preparing an address to our people, our Church. In that message, we asserted that Ukrainians have the right and the sacred duty to defend their homeland. We recalled that, as the history of the twentieth century teaches, the one who starts a war, who cherishes illusions of omnipotence, loses it. The Lord catches the powerful in their illusion, brings down the mighty from their thrones, and exalts the poor and humble.”

“Every day throughout the year, we have been saying: Ukraine stands! Ukraine fights! Ukraine prays! This phrase was born spontaneously because none of us planned daily video messages or other events that would endure for a whole year,” said the Head of the Church.

“I remember,” the spiritual leader said, “people from different countries called and asked: ‘Are you still alive in Kyiv?’ And then I asked my secretary: ‘Let’s record a video so that everyone can see that we are alive, that we continue to fight, that we do not lose heart, and that we all stand together to defend our homeland.’ This video message was first released on February 25.”

“But today we say: Ukraine stands. Ukraine has stood for a whole year! We thank the Lord God for giving us strength and resilience,” he added.

“Today, we feel that the Lord hears us, grants us what we ask Him for the salvation of our people, and helps us to save the lives of those in Ukraine who have suffered, who are victims of this unprovoked Russian aggression and war. Therefore, I urge all of you to spend this day in prayer, fasting, and performing works of mercy and love,” the Head of the Church addressed everyone.

The Head of the Church also thanked everyone who took the time to listen to his video message every day. “Thank you for living, fighting, and praying together during that year,” said the spiritual leader.

The UGCC Department for Information

See also