With this magnificent divine service… the Liturgy of Holy Saturday… we enter the feast of Holy Easter. Although Easter begins at midnight astronomically, when all the Church sings hymns to the risen Christ, now, inasmuch as this Liturgy has associations with the previous evening, and according to the Tradition of the Church, a feast begins at sundown, we enter into this celebration. This is an especially blessed Saturday, as Christ was asleep, asleep in the bonds of death… it was a human physical death, but it couldn’t overcome His Divine Body. We know that at the Resurrection the Lord rose from the dead. This is the greatest event in human history.
During this spiritually intense moment of our religious life, when we open our hearts to meet the Lord, the risen Saviour of the world, I urge everyone, all of our Church, to offer ardent and sincere prayer for the Ukraine. The Ukraine is a country politically apart, but spiritually and historically it most certainly isn’t such. Before God, we’re one people; we confess one Orthodox faith. Moreover, I’d like to reiterate that the Ukrainian people profess that faith, and none other. Of course, we respect religious minorities, but I continue to argue and will maintain that the Ukraine is organically united with Holy Rus… it’s an Orthodox country.
Today, we must pray for the people of Rus living in the Ukraine; we must ask the Lord to grant peacefulness to the Ukrainian land, to prevent internecine warfare within the Ukrainian state at all costs. In relations between the Ukraine and Russia, we must defeat the plans of those who’d use political means or forceful pressure to break Holy Rus. Repeatedly, many tried to do so throughout our history, but no one has ever managed to do so. Today, some think that they can exploit this gap by acquiring military and political superiority, we, as children of Orthodox Holy Rus, should pray to the Lord to bring peace to the Ukraine, to end the violence, to usher in a reign of harmony. The peoples of Holy Rus shouldn’t be enemies to one another. That’s so no one could ever use the peoples of Holy Rus for their own purposes, to push them into internecine warfare, thus, weakening their spiritual life, and, above all, to injure Orthodoxy.
Whilst respecting the sovereignty of the modern Ukraine, we pray also that the Lord would help to overcome the political and social crisis in that country caused by an overthrow of the legitimately elected government. We hope that the enemy of the human race doesn’t sow the seeds of discord in the Ukrainian people, not now, not at any time, nor under any circumstances, so as bring disunity between the Ukraine and the rest of historical Holy Rus.
19 April 2014
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