“Today, Christ prays in Kharkiv, with Kharkiv, and for Kharkiv,” Head of the UGCC reflects on the tenth anniversary of the Kharkiv Exarchate

June 16, 2024, 16:56 147

Today I would like to speak to the whole world from here, from Kharkiv: Kharkiv is standing! Kharkiv is fighting! Kharkiv is praying! Because the Son of God Himself prays in it, with it, and for it to His Heavenly Father by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. This was emphasized by the Father and Head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, during a sermon on June 16, 2024, on the 7th Sunday after Easter, the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the parish of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in Kharkiv to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Kharkiv Exarchate.

“Today, Christ prays in Kharkiv, with Kharkiv, and for Kharkiv,” Head of the UGCC reflects on the tenth anniversary of the Kharkiv Exarchate

At the beginning of the sermon, the Primate drew attention to the Prayer of Jesus Christ, in which He prays in us, with us, and for us.

“As we shape the body of Christ, today we have Him who prays with us, who communicates the words of each of our personal prayers to His Heavenly Father. Sometimes we think that we need to pray louder or more intensely, because Christ must hear us, though He prays with us every time. Moreover, He makes our prayer His own. He personally, as the Head of the Church, the head of His body, says it to His Heavenly Father. He prays for us,” assured the Patriarch.

“Dear brothers and sisters, today it is a prayer offered by your mother Church for you, for our Kharkiv Exarchate. For this wounded land, which is still bleeding,” said the Head of the UGCC.

He noted that there are several tens of kilometers from the place where the prayer is taking place to the border where active hostilities are occurring. Explosions are heard even during the prayer service.

“This prayer of our Church for you, for our exarchate, has a very special meaning here. Today we have come to pray, thanking the Lord God for the first 10 years of this separate cell of the body of Christ, which is the community of bishops, priests, monks, and nuns of this exarchate,” said the Head of the UGCC.

The Patriarch thanked all the predecessors who built the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church on the lands of Slobozhanshchyna, in particular Most Rev. Stepan Menko, who was the Exarch of Donetsk and Kharkiv.

“We are grateful today that our hierarch, the Head of our Church, Jesus Christ, is here pleading with the Father for his faithful. I would like to sincerely thank all those who work tirelessly in this vineyard of God in our Kharkiv Exarchate. I thank Bishop Vasyl, Bishop Ihor Isichenko, the sisters—all of you who are gathered here in such large numbers. Because the Lord protects you here especially, since you are more exposed to various dangers,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

Therefore, the Father and Head of the UGCC appealed to the world to help Kharkiv: “Let us do everything so that the hands of volunteers, our bishop here in Kharkiv, are never empty. We know that this is a prayer, a desire, a desire of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. When I look at all of you, I ask today: Holy Father, for the sake of Your holy name, save them. Those children, the youth, those unknown children who amaze the world today. Save them and grant them the power to triumph over evil,” he said.

“It is true that if the Son of God Himself prays in us, with us, and for us, the Heavenly Father hears us. Our prayer and His prayer will be answered. This proves the reality of the ten-year history of this young Kharkiv Exarchate,” the Patriarch affirmed.

The Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church also reminded that today Ukraine celebrates Father’s Day.

“Today among you we have fathers for whom we pray. Today Ukraine is praying for the fathers, the sons of Ukraine, who are defending our nation, our prayer, our life today and our future tomorrow holding arms. We pray today for our fathers, for whom their children cry, sending them off to the front with the word ‘daddy.’ We pray for them: Holy Father, for the sake of your name, keep them safe. Bestow upon them the vitality and faith in your victory that you give to Ukraine. Preserve them and let them return to their children alive, unharmed, victorious, so that they can hear their children say ‘dad’, ‘daddy’, ‘father’. Today we feel that word echoing in our hearts,” said the spiritual leader of Ukrainians.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude Sviatoslav greeted and thanked all the UGCC bishops gathered from all over Ukraine.

Specifically, the Head of the UGCC expressed gratitude to Most Rev. Stepan Menko, who is currently the Exarch of Donetsk, for the work in Kharkiv and the entire preceding history for the establishment of the exarchate.

The Patriarch also congratulated Most Rev. Vasyl Tuchapets on the 10th anniversary of his episcopal ordination and thanked him for his zealous and dedicated service in the development of the exarchate.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav and Most Rev. Vasyl Tuchapets, Exarch of Kharkiv

A myriad of patriarchal certificates of appreciation were also presented on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Kharkiv Exarchate, in particular to the hierarchical bishop of Kharkiv, Most Rev. Ihor Isichenko, directors of Caritas in these territories, priests of the exarchate, the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent, and the Sisters of St. Joseph the Betrothed.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield! My heart has trusted in him, and I have found help; therefore, my heart rejoices, and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7). With these words of the psalm, we convey our prayers to the throne of the Almighty, thanking Him for granting us the opportunity to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Kharkiv Exarchate of the UGCC, which is growing and enveloping the North of Ukraine with its pastoral care. Throughout this time, the Lord sent and accompanied with His blessing fathers, consecrated persons, and laypeople who, united by the Holy Spirit, were called to its development and establishment, bringing God’s blessing to all who thirsted for it. May the Lord be honored and glorified for this! And to you — for everything you have done for the glory of God and the good of the Kharkiv Exarchate, especially during this brutal war of aggression, the bloody consequences of which you experience every day — we express our heartfelt gratitude and express our recognition and praise,” reads the Patriarchal letter on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Kharkiv Exarchate.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav also greeted the mayor of Kharkiv, Mr. Ihor Terekhov, with a patriarchal letter of greeting.

Kharkiv Exarch Most Rev. Vasyl Tuchapets extended his gratitude to His Beatitude Sviatoslav for his presence, support, and call to help Kharkiv and urged everyone to be in solidarity and non-indifferent.

The UGCC Department for Information


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