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Video-message of His Beatitude Sviatoslav. January 26st [337th day of the war]

January 26, 2023, 15:03 13

Christ is born!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

Today is Thursday 26 January 26, 2023, and we, in Ukraine, are already on the 337th day of a big bloody full-scale war.

Again yesterday and last night, even this morning, Ukraine lived under the sound of air raid sirens. Sirens sounded and are sounding all over Ukraine and there is a danger of air raids. At this very moment, they are reporting that missiles are flying at Ukraine. Already the first of them, by means of the air defence of Ukraine, are beginning to be shot down. Once again, Ukraine is under massive missile attacks from Russia. Yesterday, in addition to missiles, many other types of deadly weapons flew at Ukraine. Ten missile strikes were carried out on Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Kherson, and Kharkiv. We hear about a significant intensification of hostilities, an increase in their intensity, in particular in the Donetsk region near Bakhmut and Vuhledar.

Despite the fact that we are the target of Russian killers, we are alive today and we thank God and the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the fact that we can see this morning, we can pray and serve, serve God and our native Ukrainian people. Therefore, even facing the danger of new deadly missile strikes, today we want the whole world to hear us. We want to say that Ukraine is alive. Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying.

Yesterday, the religious environment of Ukraine experienced a special historical day: members of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations arrived in Rome. We met with the Holy Father, Pope Francis. We took part in the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with representatives of different churches and different denominations from the whole world. Yesterday, the entire Christian world, the entire Church of Christ, although divided today, gathered at the tomb of the Apostle Paul. And we prayed together so that unity between us might reign again. We were aware that unity is the first gift of God, the gift of the Holy Spirit. And we were united together in that so-called spiritual ecumenism, in that spiritual movement for the unity of the hearts and minds of the sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.

Yesterday, talking with many representatives of churches and religious organizations, we felt that today Christianity and Christian churches are the most persecuted religious communities in the world. And together we remembered that the early Church of Christ, in addition to baptism through immersion in baptismal waters, in addition to baptism with water, knew another type of baptism: baptism with blood. Whoever was not baptized, but gave his life for Christ as a witness of faith in Christ’s resurrection, was considered by Christians as his brother and sister. A martyr for Christ was considered a member of Christ’s Church who accepted baptism with blood. And so today I want to remind everyone that there is also an ecumenism of martyrs, this movement of holy people in different parts of the globe who gave their lives for Christ as witnesses of faith in His resurrection.

I would like us to remember today the blessed hieromartyr Emilian Kovch, whom our Church proclaimed as the patron saint of the pastors of our Church. He was murdered by the German Nazis in the Majdanek concentration camp in present-day Poland for rescuing Jews. His Beatitude Lubomyr outlined the testimony of his martyrdom as the son of one nation, the Ukrainian nation, who saved the sons and daughters of another nation, the Jewish nation, and was martyred on the territory of a third nation, the Polish nation, uniting in his person all those different national, spiritual, and religious realities. There, in the Majdanek concentration camp, this priest considered himself the pastor of those imprisoned people, the pastor of Majdanek, and from there he wrote the following words to his wife and children: “Here I see God, who is one and the same for everyone. When I serve the Divine Liturgy, everyone prays with me: Ukrainians and Poles, Lithuanians and Russians, representatives of other churches, religions, and nationalities.”

May the blood of the holy martyrs, which calls out to the Lord God from the Ukrainian land, be the interior strength of the Christians of Ukraine who want to find different types of unity between us. Let our holy martyrs pray today for our churches and for the Ukrainian people, so that the preaching of Christ’s Gospel touches the heart of modern people, leads them to baptism, and among Christian Churches, may the Holy Spirit move this desire to restore the unity of Christ’s Church.

O God, bless Ukraine! O God, bless our boys and girls at the front! O God, at this moment, when dozens of Russian missiles are flying at Ukraine, protect us from the death that our enemy is sending us. O God, bless Ukraine with Your just, heavenly peace!

May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love of mankind, always, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

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