“Let the candles of Stritennya ignite hope within us for the victory of Ukraine”: Head of the UGCC on the Feast of the Presentation

February 2, 2024, 17:14 49

Today, Ukraine welcomes the light of its consolation. Today, the Lord comes to us, brought by Mary. May we, like the elder Simeon and the prophetess Anna, embrace this light! His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Father and Head of the UGCC, called for this during his sermon at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

“Let the candles of Stritennya ignite hope within us for the victory of Ukraine”: Head of the UGCC on the Feast of the Presentation

In his sermon, the Primate emphasized that today the Church of Christ celebrates one of the most significant Christian holidays of the year: the Presentation of the Lord.

He remarked that the word “encounter” is not found in the Holy Scriptures. Still, it accurately describes the meaning of this event, which we are now remembering and celebrating, and what we are experiencing.

“Presentation is an encounter between God and His people. A meeting between the old and the new time. The meeting of the one who weeps and hopes for comfort with the one who is that comfort, who comforts, who wipes away tears, who eliminates fear and gives hope. A meeting between the darkness of human despair and despair with the shining light of God’s hope,” the preacher said.

He is convinced that the song of the elder Simeon is a confession of the early Christian faith. It can be argued that Luke has documented the early Christian symbol of faith in Jerusalem. After all, Simeon then turns to the Virgin Mary and speaks to her about the sword that will pierce her soul, that the One he holds in his arms, who is the fulfillment and comfort of the people of God, is also a stumbling block.

“This event today reveals a fundamental truth about each person and about us. When we come to the church, perhaps even now, we anticipate God speaking a word of hope and comfort amidst the sea of darkness, our tears, and pain. On this holiday, the Lord God comes to meet us because it is not man who takes the first step to encounter God; on the contrary, the Lord is the first to meet man,” the Head of the Church emphasizes.

He emphasized that “encountering God in our lives is the ultimate fulfillment of human hope, a moment of comfort, light, and hope for the future.”

His Beatitude Sviatoslav then recalled the centuries-old custom of blessing the candle of Stritennya and lighting it when a person or family is experiencing a moment of great fear. “When a person needs the light of God’s presence and the feeling that God will never leave me on my journey to Him,” he added.

The Head of the UGCC noted that there are moments when darkness falls on a person, especially during times of war. He shared how moved he was to hear the testimonies of our military, women, and men who had experienced the horrors of Russian captivity: “They say that there comes a time in life when everything around you becomes dark. The only thing that shines is the light of your own heart.”

“For even amid the darkness of war and hopelessness, we can radiate with God’s goodness, share it to defeat all evil through the power of God’s light within our hearts. By nurturing ourselves and giving hope to others through God’s liberating power, victory manifests through us and within us,” added His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The UGCC Department for Information

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