“Seek Christ in your life, and you will find the victory of Ukraine”: Vilnius commemorates the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Josaphat

September 28, 2023, 22:27 46

Remembering St. Josaphat, today we must hear his great call: seek Christ in your life! Seek and find Ukraine’s dignity, freedom, strength, independence, and victory! His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the Father and Head of the UGCC, said this during a sermon in the Church of the Holy Trinity of the Basilian Monastery in Vilnius on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Josaphat.

“Seek Christ in your life, and you will find the victory of Ukraine”: Vilnius commemorates the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Josaphat

In his sermon, explaining the passage of today’s Gospel, the Patriarch noted a remarkable moment in the mission of Jesus Christ — to proclaim the extraordinary act of God. “This good news is that God is the One who redeems his people. He himself remembers and cares for them,” the preacher emphasized.

The Head of the UGCC mentioned that today in Vilnius, our eyes are turned to the figure of St. Josaphat, Archbishop of Polotsk: “We are here today to praise the Lord God for the gift of a great holy man of our Church on the 400th anniversary of his martyrdom.”

As history says, the Primate reminded, St. Josaphat’s arrival to the monastery was mysterious. The superior met him here because the monastery was empty and neglected. What interesting, the cell of St. Josaphat is preserved above this gate, and in the courtyard, there is a stone where he used to stand and preach about the fulfilment that a person can find only in the person of Jesus Christ.

Today in Vilnius, the Primate continued, St. Josaphat speaks in a special way to the Ukrainian community, which, under the circumstances of the war, found itself in the hospitable Baltic States.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked the Lithuanian people for their hospitality: “We are grateful that the hospitable Lithuanian people consider St. Josaphat and the history of our Church in Vilnius to be part of their national history and spiritual heritage!”

“Today, Ukraine needs the fulfillment of the Gospel words of the Good News so much. We all expect good news. We await news of the liberation of our enslaved brothers and sisters who are now in the occupied territories. We pray for the Ukrainian Crimea, the right-bank Ukrainian Kherson region, for Berdiansk and Tokmak. We pray for Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk. We ask: Jesus, You liberate the enslaved, give freedom to the prisoners, fulfill Your word today in our ears and our hearts, in the strength of the Ukrainian people,” said the Head of the UGCC.

“St. Josaphat is a figure that unites Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland. Four hundred years ago, he was the Archbishop of Polotsk. This is modern Belarus. He died a martyr’s death for the unity of the Church of Christ in Vitebsk,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav and greeted the Greek Catholics from Belarus at the prayer together.

“We pray today: St. Josaphat, you are there in heaven, standing before the throne of God, as you once stood here in this church of the Holy Trinity before the face of the Eucharistic Christ. Pray for us! Please give us your strength not to languish when we are in pain! Give us the strength to realize that the fullness of victory will come to Ukraine through the power and fullness of our God, who overcomes all evil! Jesus, You anointed with the Holy Spirit, the Son of God, bless our Motherland, Ukraine, today! Give us freedom, support our army, our men and women at the front, gather the scattered, heal the wounded, free those in Russian captivity, and find those missing! Jesus, wipe away the tears of the Ukrainian mother and woman, the tears of the Ukrainian child who misses his father’s and mother’s home! Jesus, You who fulfill everything, fulfill the dream of Ukraine about true, just, complete peace in You,” added His Beatitude Sviatoslav at the end of the sermon.

The UGCC Department for Information,
photo by Taras Babenchuk and Aiste Karpite

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