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https://stjosaphateparchy.com/christmas-pastoral-letter-of-the-ukrainian-catholic-hierarchy-of-the-usa/

CHRISTMAS PASTORAL OF THE UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC HIERARCHY OF THE USA TO OUR CLERGY, RELIGIOUS, SEMINARIANS AND BELOVED FAITHFUL

Christ is born!

                                “…all at once with the angel there appeared a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” (Luke 2:13-14)

This was the joyous proclamation of the angels at the most significant event in human history to that point: the birth of the Messiah, the Son of God, in a stable in Bethlehem.

This intrusion of God into the world of men was something that was totally unexpected; it caught everyone off guard.  In fact, we can say that, in sending His Son to us, God interrupted the normal course of events in the lives of many people.  In the Gospel narrative, we see this clearly in those most closely associated with the Nativity of Christ.

Mary and Joseph were a typical young couple of the time, betrothed to each other in anticipation of a formal marriage that would take place some time in the future.  That is, until the angel of the Lord appeared to them both, leaving their plans in shambles.

The shepherds were settling in for a long, uneventful night tending their sheep.  That is, until the angels suddenly filled the sky and sent them hurrying in search of a poor stable.

The Magi were esteemed and established scholars in far-off Persia.  That is, until a mysterious star compelled them to make a long and arduous journey to Palestine.

And Herod sat contentedly on his throne in Jerusalem.  That is, until the Magi brought him the astonishing news of the birth of a would be pretender to his throne that shook him to his core.  Indeed, the news of Jesus’ birth not only interrupted the lives of these people, it totally upended them.

It is more important for us, however, to observe how God’s interruption changed these people, for better or worse.

We see that Mary and Joseph did not fall into anger or despair at the predicament they found themselves in.  Rather, they embraced it in obedience, the news brought by the Archangel Gabriel, as the will of God for them. “Let it be done according to your word” said Mary to Gabriel, while Joseph “did what the angel of the Lord told him to do”.

The shepherds were rewarded for their sleepless night with the honor of being first to worship the Son of God in the flesh.  The Magi were privileged with being the first to bring gifts to the newborn King.  Only King Herod did not embrace God’s intrusion into his life as a blessing, unleashing rather, a violent wave of terror and bloodshed upon the innocent infants of Bethlehem.

Dearly beloved in Christ!  Each of our lives is filled with interruptions, inconveniences, and unexpected intrusions.  Though these are unexpected, they are not random, meaningless events.  In fact, these interruptions are divinely placed by God in our path for a reason.  Like Herod, we do not always react as we should when these interruptions occur.  So, God uses these interruptions to teach us patience and transform us into better and more Christ-like Christians.  The small frustrations, the little interruptions in our life, in reality present opportunities for us to rely on God, to obey Him and to embrace His will for us.

A contemporary spiritual writer puts it this way: “You and I don’t live in a series of big dramatic moments.  We don’t run from one big decision to the next.  Rather, we all live in an endless series of little every day moments that shape our life.  And the struggles that emerge from these little moments when things don’t go our way, when our plans fail and our life is interrupted, reveal the character of our heart.”

Perhaps, we can view the pandemic that is spreading throughout the world at the present time as one of these unexpected and unwanted intrusions into our life.  It has certainly interrupted our celebration of Our Lord’s Nativity in a dramatic fashion.

Because of it, our ability to travel and visit friends and family with the joy of Christmas has been greatly restricted.  Caroling concerts and Christmas plays have been cancelled.  Even worse, our ability to come together in our parish churches to worship Christ in His Nativity in the divine services is diminished as well.  Perhaps we have ourselves been sickened with the virus or have lost friends or family to it.  And because of this we have become embittered, sad and depressed.  When will it finally end?

Dear brothers and sisters!  Instead of falling into despair, let us resolve to look upon this interruption in our life through the eyes of faith and as a God-given opportunity to grow in grace, in spiritual peace, and in love for each other.  At this time when most of us are more homebound, let us devote more time to personal and family prayer, spiritual reading and meditation upon the miracle of Christ’s Incarnation and His coming to us as a helpless baby.  And let us be true neighbors and stretch our helping hands and hearts to those in our communities who are suffering both spiritually and physically during these difficult days.

And remember that with the Birth of Christ all fear and doubt are conquered, all darkness and chill are banished, leaving only the light, warmth and love of the newborn Emmanuel – God With Us!

May the blessing of the newborn Christ be with all of you!

Christ is Born! – Glorify Him!

+Borys Gudziak
Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians
Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States
+Paul Chomnycky, OSBM (author)
Eparch of Stamford
+Вenedict Aleksiychuk
Eparch of St. Nicholas in Chicago
+Bohdan J. Danylo
Eparch of St. Josaphat in Parma
+Andriy Rabiy
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
 
Christmas 2020

 

July 22, 2020

WHY DID POPE FRANCIS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH CONVENE AN EXTRAORDINARY SYNOD ON THE FAMILY ON OCTOBER 5, 2014

The answer to that question lies in the importance and immense value the family is to society. The family is the basic unit of society. The family is the cell of society. If that cell in some way becomes cancerous, society becomes cancerous. The family is the heart of society, and if the family suffers a heart attack so does society. The family is the central atom of the element of society. You split that atom, society suffers a destructive explosion. The value and importance of the family cannot be overestimated.

Pope St. John Paul II says much about the importance of the family. He states, “As the family goes so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” And again, Pope St. John Paul II states, “The future of humanity passes by way of the family.” At another instance the Saint says, “Families are important, the reason is simple: the future of a human person, his happiness, his capacity for giving life meaning, all depends upon the family. This is why I never tire of saying that the future of humanity is closely linked to that of the family.” Pope Francis says, “Not only would I say the family is important and necessary for the survival of humanity. Without the family, the cultural survival of the human race would be at risk.”

Where are traditions handed down? In the family. Where are moral values transmitted? In the family. Where do children first experience love? In the family. Where do children find support? In the family. Where do we learn the all-important respect for authority? In the family.

Patriarch Sviatoslav bears witness to the above statements while speaking on the Family. After living under communism in his earlier years, he remarks, “Everything I learned about the church, about Christ, the ambience of where I learned to pray (before I met a priest for the first time) was my home, my family.

He further said, “His people’s experience was that The Family was the last defense of human dignity; only inside the family did we feel ourselves protected because society outside of your own home was very dangerous, not human, not Christian.”

We could go on and on showing how important the family is to our culture, our society, and how we must in every way support such an institution. It is no wonder that Pope St. John Paul II wrote an exhortation on the family in the year 1984. It is no wonder that Pope St. John Paul II convened an ordinary Synod on the family in the year 1980. It is no wonder that Pope Francis convened an “Extraordinary Synod” on the Family on October 5, 2014

– Submitted by: Rev. Canon Walter Wysochansky

 
ЗВЕРНЕННЯ
Блаженнішого СВЯТОСЛАВА
до вірних УГКЦ і людей доброї волі в Україні та в усьому світі
з приводу паводків у Західній Україні

Високопреосвященні та преосвященні владики!
Всесвітліші та всечесніші отці!
Преподобні брати і сестри в монашестві!
Дорогі браття і сестри в Христі!

Одна із стихій, яка дає життя нам, людям, і всьому, що нас оточує та приносить комфорт у наші оселі, цими днями перетворилася на справжнє лихо на теренах Західної України, котре характеризують як чи не найбільший паводок за останнє століття. У воді опинилися понад триста населених пунктів. Зруйновані важливі транспортні магістралі, пошкоджені залізничні колії та мости, знеструмлені тисячі будинків. Але найбільше лихо – це людські жертви. Тож на початку цього послання висловлюю щире співчуття та запевнення в молитві всім тим, хто втратив своїх рідних.

Якщо пандемія коронавірусу зачинила нас у власних помешканнях, то водна стихія позбавила тисячі людей і цього захисту. Негода знищила врожаї, зруйнувала присадибні ділянки і домашні господарства, люди втратили засоби для існування. Десятки тисяч гектарів землі опинилися під шаром води і мулу. Людей масово евакуйовують із місць проживання, намагаючись подбати про безпеку їхнього життя. Затоплено лікарні, де, зокрема, лікують хворих на коронавірус. 

Наслідки повені в умовах економічної кризи, посиленої епідемією, несуть загрозу справжнього соціального лиха загальнодержавного масштабу. Якщо не вжити швидких і рішучих заходів, то ми напередодні зими можемо опинитися перед лицем гуманітарної катастрофи.

У цьому посланні звертаюся до всіх тих, хто постраждав від паводку, який завдав вам страху, болю і відчуття безпорадності, зокрема до тих, хто зараз перебуває серед розбурханої стихії, словами Ісуса Христа: «Не бійтеся!» Ваша Церква, яка постійно молиться до милосердного Бога, є з вами в цей складний час і прагне огорнути вас своїм теплом, увагою та допомогою. Хочу запевнити вас, що вона є і буде вашим голосом і захисницею перед могутніми цього світу та донесе правду про вашу тривогу і ваш розпач до світового співтовариства та вселенської християнської спільноти.

Кожне нещастя, яке людина переживає у своєму житті, є нагодою до вияву християнської солідарності та соціального служіння, щоб якомога швидше допомогти постраждалим. Тому закликаю всі наші церковні інституції: єпархії, спільноти богопосвяченого життя, а особливо мережу організацій благодійного фонду «Карітас» – організувати порятунок тих, хто волає про допомогу. Звертаюся до всіх громад нашої Церкви в Україні та світі в дусі євангельського самарянина підтримати тих, хто тепер позбавлений свого дому та опинився віч-на-віч із бідою. 

Скеровую своє прохання до світового співтовариства та міжнародних гуманітарних інституцій: будьте відкритими, щоб відповісти на потребу постраждалих від стихійного лиха в західних областях України.

Дивлячись на наслідки катастрофи, маємо водночас замислитися над тим, що до неї призвело. Папа Франциск каже: «Бог прощає завжди, людина інколи, але природа не прощає ніколи». Причиною лиха, яке переживаємо, є хижацьке ставлення людини до довкілля. Зміна клімату на глобальному рівні та безконтрольне винищення карпатських лісів змусило природу промовити своє грізне слово, на яке ми не сміємо промовчати.

У час Петрового посту, зважаючи на сучасну драматичну ситуацію, закликаю вас переосмислити своє ставлення до навколишнього середовища, що повинно виявитися в усвідомленні небезпеки екологічного гріха та в покаянні перед обличчям Бога-Творця, щоб навчитися відповідально дбати про наш спільний Божий дім і примножувати природну спадщину.

Дорогі в Христі брати і сестри! Постраждалі від стихії потребують нашої молитви та співчуття. Щиро прохаю цієї неділі під час Божественної Літургії усильно молитися за всіх, хто постраждав від паводка та за рятувальників, які ліквідовують його наслідки.

Нехай Господь, який є з нами завжди, у радостях та небезпеках нашого життя, допоможе нам з гідністю синів Божих пройти це випробовування. Хай покров Його Пречистої Матері, прославленої в багатьох храмах наших гостинних Карпат, буде над усіма, хто став заручником водної стихії. Випрошуючи в Господа щедрих дарів для тих, хто допомагатиме постраждалим, молюся про те, щоб Він був милосердним до всіх нас.

†  СВЯТОСЛАВ

Дано в Києві,
при Патріаршому соборі Воскресіння Христового,
у день Віддання свята Пресвятої Євхаристії,
25 червня 2020 року Божого

 

https://stjosaphateparchy.com/pentecost-sunday-our-mission-to-carry-the-holy-spirit-to-others/

Pentecost Pastoral of the Ukrainian Catholic Hierarchy of the U.S.A. To our Clergy, Hieromonks and Brothers, Religious Sisters, Seminarians, and Beloved Faithful 

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

We greet you on the joyous feast of Pentecost, the birth of the Church, and the rebirth of nature. This year, Pentecost coincides with an apparent decline of the pandemic and a loosening of quarantine restrictions. We are enabled to celebrate the birth and renewal of the Church by again attending Divine services —if not today then, by God’s grace, tomorrow. Having conscientiously endured restrictions on interpersonal encounters and interactions we hope to be together in prayer and in the Descent of the Holy Spirit Who comes to us. Our hope is real, and it is being realized. Saying “Happy Birthday” to our Mother-Church, born out of the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are also privileged to observe how life returns to our houses of worship as they refill with people, our chants, incense, and candlelight.

At Pentecost the Father, through the Son, sends to us the Holy Spirit, “the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, everywhere present and filling all things.” In the Feast, we all share the joy of being together. We celebrate the Spirit of communion in the Divine Trinity, in the Church, and in the human race. Our God is three Persons in One, a triune community. Each one of us is created in God’s image and likeness to live in divine-like relationship and communion. Sent by the Father, through the action of the Holy Spirit in Mary, the Mother of God, the Son assumed our life and death. In His Resurrection we overcome all obstacles to encounter, reconciliation and union with God and all of God’s children. No COVID-, no isolation, no death, is stronger than the healing and uniting Spirit of God, “who renews the face of the earth” (Ps 104:30).

Together we pray for the disease to be defeated, for recovery of those struck by sickness or crushed by the death of loved ones, and for the eternal rest of all virus victims. On the Last Day, may they be resurrected by the power of the Holy Spirit to new and everlasting life (Ez 37: 1-14; 1 Cor 15).

We extend special words of recognition and gratitude to doctors, nurses, all hospital and medical personnel, first-responders and all civil services. We are inspired by your dedication and heroic self-sacrifice. Christ the Healer works through you to save lives, including ours. We are uplifted by the steadfast service of priests and the exemplary responsibility of the faithful. We thank our clergy and all the baptized for their creative responses to the challenges faced by our Church in the United States. “We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Th 1:2-3).

We are inspired by the resolve and resourcefulness of teachers, small entrepreneurs and business leaders, grand-parents, and parents along with our beautiful children. All of us have been called to adjust our daily lives to unprecedented circumstances. The entire globe, together and all at once, has lived in consciousness of real danger. It was more than danger: there was death. We all know somebody who was taken away from us by COVID-19. Among our ten active and retired bishops in the US, Metropolitan Stephen Sulyk of blessed memory was infected and called to the Lord. Two others endured a grievous bout with the ubiquitous disease and, gratefully, survived. We express our condolences, solidarity in loss, and sense of pain to those who had no chance properly to say good-bye.

And yet, our fundamental and overriding sentiment is that of hope. We celebrated the Resurrection and the Ascension of the Lord with His body. We rejoice in the Holy Spirit who descends in a special way when life is hard to where it really hurts — to the core of human suffering and tragedy.

Seven decades ago, our brothers and sisters in Christ, members of our Church in Ukraine, were enduring death-dealing persecution: all our bishops had been killed or imprisoned, the religious and priests with their families had been deported to Siberia. For Stalin, God was dead, and Christians were to disappear in death also. In 1947, from a gulag prison camp, the head of our Church, Metropolitan Josyf Slipyj, wrote an amazing letter for the Feast of Pentecost to his faithful, in fact to all of us. A handwritten copy arrived in western Ukraine from Siberia and was found in 2003, more than a half-century later, in a capsule, cemented into a wall in the Studite monastery in Univ. This epistle is the voice of a true shepherd who shares the sufferings of his flock yet yearns to offer a word of hope. Hope in the Holy Spirit.

“Our hardships force us — exhausted, oppressed, and frightened — to bend our knee and pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen the Church, to bring her out of this mournful state … and to inspire in her a new supernatural vigor,” writes Metropolitan Josyf to the Church declared liquidated and non-existent by Soviet officials. The experience of the first-generation followers of Christ was being repeated, and the blessings they received were being multiplied.  As St. Peter wrote to the persecuted: “But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Pt 4:13–14).

Metropolitan Josyf’s epistle continues: “Only the Holy Spirit can show us the way out and bring us out of a storm our Church never endured before. He will teach us to discern God’s plans and ways, which short-sighted people cannot see. The Holy Spirit will teach us with his gifts of wisdom, reason, and knowledge of the fullness of truth.” How inspiring these words ring today to our communities, living through three months of danger, lockdown, and ongoing uncertainty!

The Confessor of the Faith writes not only about Divine hope but also about human progress. He dreams about prosperity, bountiful harvests, new inventions, and better communications networks. He all but foresees the Internet! This was not a message of a trapped, despondent gulag prisoner, but the prophecy of a visionary overcoming insurmountable hurdles with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Metropolitan Josyf was not writing to a large audience or big assemblies. He counsels to conceal his missive. With time, it may prove seminal. But it would not be printed in newspapers or posted on the Internet. At best it might be received in the intimate circles of clandestine monasteries or by tight-knit families in the underground domestic Church.

There was no chance that the correspondence would soon reach and bolster many. Yet in his hope he witnessed to the truth. “Martyr” means witness. Not knowing whether you will win or lose, live or die, you do and say the right thing, you share the truth—in the Holy Spirit.

The truth is that God is with us (Mt 28:20). He created the world and each and every one of us. God saved us from our sins and freed us from the shackles of death. He prepared us to be people of communion, unity, solidarity, mutual service because these are the qualities that the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit share. God shares with us his very life, His Son in His Ascension brought our body and our human nature to the life of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit in His Descent brings to us the divine life of God Himself.

No contagion, catastrophe, regime, war, poverty or persecution can overcome the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit— the Spirit of Hope. He led Metropolitan Josyf and our entire Church in the communist countries through the dark tunnel of torture, isolation, prohibition, and death. Our Church is alive. In 1900 it had a mere three eparchies limited to western Ukraine; today globally there are 36 eparchies and exarchates, including our four in the US.  The story of Slipyj in the Spirit is emblematic. In 1963, miraculously, following an intervention of St. Pope John XXIII, the Metropolitan was released from the gulag after 18 years of confinement to attend the Second Session of Vatican Council II. The 71-year-old crippled living martyr not only survived. A few months later in Rome he founded the Ukrainian Catholic University. For the next 21 years from the free world he continued to give hope to the faithful in the Soviet bloc while visiting and galvanizing our Church in various countries, including ours, on various continents. Today, in the very place it was declared dead, our Church is vibrant— and it is becoming truly global. Our life is just beginning, because the Holy Spirit has come.

May His gifts — wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (Is 11:2)— be with you! May the hope that our ancestors fostered in far more treacherous circumstances be our hope! May we be people of solidarity and service to each other as we nurture our communion with God and all His children!

Today, our mission is to share the gifts of the Holy Spirit with others.  Let us be contemporary apostles of Christ, witnessing to God’s truth, and revealing God’s goodness in the world.

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

+Borys
Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians
Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States
+Paul
Eparch of Stamford
+Вenedict
Eparch of St. Nicholas in Chicago
+Bohdan
Eparch of St. Josaphat in Parma
 
+Andriy
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
 
Pentecost 2020
 
 
 

ПОСЛАННЯ

Єпископів Української Католицької Церкви в США з нагоди празника Зіслання Святого Духа до духовенства, монашества, семінаристів та вірних

Слава Ісусу Христу!

Улюблені у Христі Сестри і Браття!

Вітаємо Вас із радісним празником Зіслання Святого Духа, народженням Церкви та новим пробудженням природи. Свято П’ятдесятниці співпало із частковим спадом пандемії і скороченням карантинних обмежень. Ми святкуємо народження і відродження Церкви, і радіємо можливості — якщо не сьогодні, то з Божою допомогою, в найближчому майбутньому — взяти участь у богослуженнях. Ми сумлінно дотримувалися правил обмеження щодо спілкування і зустрічей та маємо надію, що будемо разом у молитві і у святкуванні Зіслання Святого Духа на нас. Наша надія реальна, і вона справджується. Вітаючи з уродинами Мати-Церкву, що народилася з дару Святого Духа, спостерігаємо як у наші храми повертається життя, як вони знову наповнюються людьми, співом, запахом кадила і світлом лампадок.

У П’ятдесятниці Отець через Сина посилає нам Святого Духа, “Утішителя, Духа істини, що всюди присутній і все наповняє”. Прагнемо поділитися з вами радістю: ми разом! Ми прославляємо Духа, що єднає Пресвяту Трійцю, Церкву та людський рід. Наш Бог — це троїчна дійсність, трисяйність єдиного Божества. Ми створені на Його образ і подобу та покликані жити у богоподібних стосунках і спілкуванні. Посланий Отцем, дією Святого Духа через Пресвяту Богородицю, Син прийняв наше життя і, зрештою, нашу смерть. У Христовому Воскресінні ми подолали всі перешкоди, що заважають нам зустрітися, примиритися та бути єдиними з Богом і з усіма Його дітьми. Жоден коронавірус, чи ізоляція, чи смерть не мають більше сили, ніж міць Духа Божого, що зцілює і єднає, який “відновлює лице землі” (Пс. 104, 30).

Ми разом молимося, щоб хвороба була подолана, за зцілення тих, кого вона вразила, за загоєння ран від  втрати рідних і близьких, яких вона забрала, і за вічний упокій її жертв. Нехай силою Святого Духа усі вони воскреснуть до нового вічного життя в Останній День (Єз 37, 1-14; 1 Кор 15).

Бажаємо висловити глибоку вдячність лікарям, медсестрам і медбратам, працівникам лікарень та клінік та усім службам, що перебувають на передовій боротьби з вірусом. Ваша відданість і героїчна самопожертва служить для нас натхненням. Через вас діє сам Христос-Лікар і Він допомагає вам рятувати наші життя. Нас кріпить непохитна віра священників і зразкова відповідальність вірних. Дякуємо духовенству і всім охрещеним за творчі відповіді на виклики, з якими зіткнулася Церква у Сполучених Штатах Америки. “Ми дякуємо Богові завжди за всіх вас, коли згадуємо про вас у молитвах наших. Маємо в пам’яті безперестанку діло вашої віри, труд вашої любови та терпеливість вашої надії на Господа нашого Ісуса Христа перед Богом і Отцем нашим” (1 Сол. 1,2-3).

Нас надихає рішучість та винахідливість вчителів, власників малих і великих бізнесів, лідерів спільнот, батьків і бабусь-дідусів та наших прекрасних дітей. Усім довелося пристосуватися до небувалих обставин. Все людство вимушене жити з постійним відчуттям небезпеки. І навіть більше — з усвідомленням смерті. Мабуть, кожен з вас знає особу, яку забрав вірус COVID-19. Не оминув він і єпископів нашої Церкви в США — активних і на відпочинку.  Заразився і спочив у Бозі блаженної пам’яті митрополит Стефан Сулик. Двоє інших єпископів перенесли важку боротьбу з глобальною хворобою і, на щастя, її подолали. Висловлюємо слова співчуття, солідарності з приводу втрати і болю від того, що ви не могли належно попрощатися.

Однак, нашим основним почуттям сьогодні є почуття надії. Ми відсвяткували Воскресіння і Вознесіння Христове. Ми радіємо у Святому Дусі, який сходить насамперед туди, де життя складне і де болить — до глибини людського страждання і болю.

Більше сімдесяти років тому наші брати і сестри у Христі, члени нашої Церкви в Україні, зазнавали смертельних переслідувань. Усіх єпископів вбили або ув’язнили, а монашество і духовенство з родинами депортували на Сибір. Сталін вважав, що Бог помер, і християни мають бути знищені. У цих обставинах, 1947 року, перебуваючи у радянському ув’язненні, глава нашої Церкви, митрополит Йосиф Сліпий, пише листа-привітання зі святом Зіслання Святого Духа до своїх вірних, зрештою — до всіх нас. Написаний від руки, лист добрався з Сибіру до України, і 2003 року, через більше, ніж півстоліття, був знайдений замурованим у спеціальній капсулі у стіні монастиря отців-студитів в Уневі. З його сторінок лунає голос справжнього пастиря, який, страждаючи разом зі своєю паствою, все ж прагне поділитися з нею словами надії. Надії на Святого Духа.

“Наші важкі переживання примушують нас, знесилених, пригноблених, заляканих, звернутися з усиленими колінопреклонними молитвами до Святого Духа, щоб Він скріпив її, вивів із цього оплаканого стану, з тих важких і часто-густо безвихідних умов та вдунув нову надприродну силу”, — пише митрополит Йосиф до Церкви, яка, на думку радянської влади, вже перестала існувати. Повторився досвід першого покоління учнів Христових, як і помножилися благословення, які вони отримали. Як писав до переслідуваних Апостол Петро: “Але, тією мірою, якою берете участь у Христових муках, радійте, щоб і в славному його з’явленні раділи та веселились. Щасливі ви, як вас ганьблять за Христове ім’я, бо Дух слави і Божий на вас покоїться!” (1 Пет. 4,13-14)

У листі митрополита Йосифа читаємо: “Тільки Святий Дух може вказати нам вихід і вивести з тої грози, яку ледве чи коли-небудь перепливала наша Церква. Він навчить пізнати Божі дороги і плани, які далеко не ті, що їх накреслюють у світі короткозорі люди. Святий Дух навчить нас своїми дарами мудрости, розуму і знання всієї і повної правди”. Як натхненно звучать сьогодні ці слова для наших спільнот, що три місяці живуть в ізоляції з постійним відчуттям небезпеки та тривоги!

Ісповідник віри у своєму посланні пише не лише про Божественну надію, але й про людський прогрес. Він мріє про добробут, багаті врожаї, нові винаходи і кращі комунікаційні сітки. Він передбачив все, у цьому прогнозі аж хочеться побачити слово Інтернету. Це не лист загнаного, зневіреного радянського в’язня, а віщі слова великого провидця, який з допомогою Святого Духа долає нездоланне.

Митрополит Йосиф не писав до великої аудиторії. Навпаки, він сам радить сховати цього листа. І цей підхід у майбутньому може виявитися пророчим. Лист не мали публікувати в газетах чи на веб-сторінках. У найкращому випадку його могли тихо прочитати в малих спільнотах підпільних монастирів чи родинному колі підпільної домашньої Церкви.

Навряд чи багато цей лист прочитали багато людей. Проте, він свідчив про правду. Бути мучеником означає бути свідком. Не знаючи, чи ти виграєш чи програєш, житимеш чи помреш, у Святому Дусі ти робиш і говориш те, що правильно, ти ділишся правдою.

А правда полягає в тому, що з нами Бог (Мт 28,20). Він створив всесвіт і кожного та кожну з нас. Він визволив нас від гріха і кайданів смерті. Він нам уготував бути людьми спільноти, єдності, солідарності, служіння, бо такими є прикмети Бога, такими є стосунки між Отцем, Сином і Святим Духом. Бог розділив з нами своє життя, Його Син у Вознесінні підніс наше тіло і нашу природу — тепер вони є частиною життя Пресвятої Тройці. У Зісланні Святий Дух дає нам божественне життя самого Бога.

Жодна катастрофа, зараза, жоден насильницький режим, війна чи переслідування не переможуть життєдайну силу Святого Духа — Духа Надії. Він вивів митрополита Йосифа і всю нашу Церкву в комуністичних країнах з темниці знущань, самоти, заборони і смерті. Наша Церква жива. На початку двадцятого століття вона мала всього три єпархії у західній Україні, а зараз є 36 єпархій та екзархатів по всьому світові, включаючи чотири у США. Історія життя патріарха Йосифа є символічною. 1963 року, чудом, завдяки втручанню святого Папи Івана XXIII, після 18 років ув’язнення у радянських таборах, він опинився на свободі і взяв участь у Другому Ватиканському Соборі. Цей 71-літній скалічений таборами живий мученик зумів не просто вижити. Вже через кілька місяців він заснував Український Католицький Університет в Римі. Ще 21 рік, живучи у вільному світі, він продовжував дарувати надію вірним нашої Церкви у Радянському Союзі та відвідував і закликав до дії нашу Церкву на різних континентах, включаючи Північну Америку. Сьогодні там, де нашу Церкву оголосили знищеною, вона живе і розвивається — і перетворюється на справді глобальну. Наше життя щойно починається, бо Святий Дух зійшов.

Нехай Його дари — мудрість, розум, рада, кріпость, знання, побожність і страх Божий — будуть з вами! Примножуймо надію, яку наші предки змогли зберегти у значно більш нестерпних умовах! Будьмо солідарними і служімо одне одному, плекаючи єдність з Богом у усіма Його дітьми!

Сьогодні нашим завданням є ділитися дарами Святого Духа з іншими. Будьмо сучасними апостолами Христовими, свідчачи про Божу правду і являючи світові Божу милість.

В імя Отця, Сина і Святого Духа!

 

+Борис

Митрополит Української Католицької Церкви у США

Архиєпископ Філадельфійський для Укpаїнців

+Павло

Єпископ Стемфордської єпархії

+Венедикт

Єпископ Чиказької єпархії святого Миколая

+Богдан

Єпископ Пармської єпархії святого Йосафата

+Андрій

Єпископ-Помічник Філадельфійський

Зіслання Святого Духа 2020

 

 

 

Запрошення повернутись до Господнього Дому

 
 
 

PASTORAL LETTER OF HIS BEATITUDE SVIATOSLAV TO YOUTH ON PALM SUNDAY

Beloved in Christ Youth in Ukraine and abroad!

Palm Sunday, the day of Christ’s triumphant entry in Jerusalem, is traditionally for me and the entire leadership of our Church an opportunity to address you with a special letter. I always cherish this opportunity because I consider it a special privilege to reflect together and with you seek answers to questions and needs, which I have heard expressed at various encounters and conversations with you throughout the year.

This year, in spite of the unique life circumstances in which we find ourselves, you, young people, without going to church due to the restrictions that have been placed on us, can listen to or read this appeal of ours. The Church comes to you, wherever you may be: we hope that the voice which will be heard on screens of various sizes and formats, will resonate in your hearts, lift up and inspire each one of you.

It’s a wonderful thing to be young, but also not easy. Being a youth means having an open heart, an inquisitive mind, and a rebellious character that reacts sharply to all forms of injustice, every distortion, any wrong, which adults have learned to ignore or even exploit. For a young person today the challenge increases with the fast pace and virtualization of the global world, the economic crisis and pandemic. For young Ukrainians there is the additional factor of an unjust war of invasion in the east of the country, a war in which for the seventh year now, sons and daughters of our Fatherland continue to die, while defending peace and the future.

Uncertainty and fear have enveloped the world. Motivational speakers will probably earn millions talking on the topic of “How to live in a time of incertitude.” High-school graduates worry about how they will do their SATs and apply to places of higher learning, while university and college graduates wonder whether they will find a job in a world that seems to heading rapidly towards economic crisis. Proprietors of small coffee shops are anxious about whether they will be able to reopen once the quarantine is over, programmers—whether orders from large international companies will be cancelled, as the financial stability of their businesses depend on them. One has the impression that today there isn’t a single young person who does not worry about the uncertainty that hangs over us.

Pope Francis in his address, “Urbi et orbi” (To the City of Rome and the World), which was recently given on the occasion of Special Prayer for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, compares the current situation to a storm on the sea. The entire world is afraid, disoriented and lost, as if sitting in a single boat tossed by waves. In this storm we sense our fragility, our mortality, possibly our inexperience and arrogance.

At the same time, we, Christians, know that in this boat on a turbulent sea God Himself is with us. He became Man and died on the cross, so that we “may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). Remembering the Resurrection keeps us from falling into despair, and helps us to continue rowing and, with trust in the Lord, overcome the waves.

The road to the Resurrection begins with the triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

The entry into Jerusalem is the beginning of a new era. In his passion, death on the cross and Resurrection our Lord established a New Covenant with all humanity. This new pact no longer involves just one people, is no longer limited to a particular land or culture, but embraces all—each and every one of you. At the Last Supper, which we will prayerfully commemorate this week, Christ gave to his disciples the Mystery of the Eucharist—the Mystery of his Body and Blood, by which this Covenant is established and sealed. He clearly stated that the Blood of the New Covenant is poured our “for you and for many” (see Mt 26:28, Mk 14:24, Lk 22:20). This is our security guarantee in unsure times—He redeemed us, made us his people, has poured out and is pouring out his Blood for us.

In greeting the Saviour who entered Jerusalem with new tree shoots, the new branches of humanity—the children of Israel—became bearers and heralds of a new time, a new era, a social paradigm, that changed the world. The history of humanity, especially the history of Europe in the second millennium, demonstrates that after dark times, after tragedies of plague and cholera, human society transforms itself, opening a new age in the development of civilization. Many understand that this is precisely what is happening before our very eyes, and that we will be witnesses to such “tectonic movements” that will change the foundations of modern states, economic systems, and methods of organizing а common world community.

The future fate of country-states, systems, and all of global society will depend, above all, on whether the “global Jerusalem” of today will open its doors for God, who in Christ the Saviour brings peace, wisdom and hope. No less important—that into this “global Jerusalem” being restored by God, the youth enter not with empty hands, as mere passive spectators or simply a “human resource.” Young people must, just as at the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, express themselves, take on as a foundation authentic values that make a person human, and thus, as if with green branches, welcome the Saviour-Messiah. Only then, when the youth of today sing to him “Hosanna” will this new world become a world of and for humanity, where a culture of life, not death, will be built—a world where human life, the value of which we have rediscovered in a time of epidemic, will become the cornerstone for democracy, international law, and new global economic relations. If this does not happen and no one picks up these young “palm branches,” then the emergence of new deadly viruses is only a matter of time. However, instead of trembling before invisible enemies, all of us, especially you, the youth, must united in faith and solidarity of action. Let us remember the words of Pope Francis: “Prayer and quiet service: these are our victorious weapons.”

Therefore, we stand before the next change of an age. We do not know what the new age will be like. However, we clearly understand, that you, in fact, are its people. Be heralds of a new social justice, of a new paradigm of mercy, of new relations of openness and service.

We approach this year’s Easter celebrations in one of the most difficult periods of humanity in a new era of globalization. Over the years we have enjoyed the benefits of networking and connectedness, and now we find ourselves in the midst of a global quarantine. This new challenge requires from us careful creativity and a developed system of service. And in this we need the assistance and support of a creative and inventive youth. You are the true experts! Many a grandson or granddaughter helped their baba follow the Liturgy online, taught their dido how to use the internet, gifted them their old computer, showed them how to pay for services online and insisted that they stay at home, while personally providing them with their necessities. How many charitable social initiatives have appeared in various corners of Ukraine to help those who are the most vulnerable!

On behalf of our elderly today, the Church says to you: “Thank you, sincerely!” Keep doing what you do and develop your service, taking due care for your own personal safety; direct your energy towards those who need it. It’s been a while since many of us have spent so much time at home—a chance to listen to all the family stories! As you find yourselves under one roof and wait out this quarantine thrust upon us, relate to one another, do things together with your loved ones. This is another chance to discover the gift of the person that is next to you! Let us not doubt that in this you will be successful.

This epidemic that our generation is experiencing is like a smack across the side of the head for an arrogant humanity—in order to separate the grain from the chaff and to become aware once again of what’s most important. We understand that the economic crisis now emerging will hit the most vulnerable the hardest—our families, the elderly, and the young. Its negative effect will be felt by all. At the same time, we are also profoundly convinced that this crisis is a test for mercy, an occasion for good and service. We would especially like for you, young people, to know that your Mother-Church will undergo these challenges together with you, embracing you and accompanying you and your loved ones with her ceaseless prayer.

 

We stand at the threshold of a new world. What it will be like—depends on all of us.

Today, more than ever, is the time for your boldest dreams: to tame the universe, to find a cure for cancer, to conquer epidemics, to build a just economic system, to protect the sick and helpless, to seek out alternate sources of energy, to construct means of transportation that don’t harm the planet, etc. Dare to dream! Dream big! Desire greatness!

Invite Christ into your dreams! Be certain that he will help. Jesus Christ has already conquered our greatest fear and given us himself as a limitless source of hope and life. On this day of our Lord’s Entry into Jerusalem, open to Him the full expanse of your heart. In receiving our Saviour into your personal life, follow his lead into that unknown “tomorrow” which he himself will create for us, through his glorious and joyful Resurrection!

The blessing of the Lord be upon you!  

† SVIATOSLAV

Given in Kyiv,
at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ,
on the day of Venerable St. James, the Confessor, Bishop of Catania,
April 3 (March 21), 2020 A.D.

 

EASTER PASTORAL LETTER OF HIS BEATITUDE SVIATOSLAV

Most Reverend Archbishops and Bishops, Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, Venerable Brothers and Sisters in Monastic and Religious Life, Dearly Beloved Laity in Christ of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church

 

Christ is Risen!

 

When those bound by chains in the realm of Hades

Saw Your boundless mercy,

They hastened to the light with joy, O Christ,

Praising the eternal Pascha.

Ode 5, Paschal Canon

Beloved in Christ!

This year we are celebrating Christ’s Pascha in particular circumstances. Many of us spent the season of Great Lent at home, isolated from others, physically distant from our churches and parish communities. Yet even in such challenging conditions, no one has the power to prevent the joyful movement of people everywhere towards the Light, in order that, with faith in Christ’s resurrection, with hope in God’s victory and with the love of the community of God’s children, we might greet one another with a jubilant and resounding “Christ is risen!”

Over three thousand years ago the Lord heard and received the cry and lament of the sons and daughters of Israel, languishing in captivity in Egypt. On the night of Passover, by the blood of the Paschal lamb, the Lord protected his people from the angel of death and led them from the house of slavery. Subsequently, the escape from Egypt under the leadership of Moses brought another danger at the shore of the sea—deep waters ahead, the pharaoh with horses and chariots behind. And the sea parted before them! Thus, for the people of God, the Passover came to be associated with salvation from death. Every Israelite, having lived through the liberation from Egypt, experienced his God as a Deliverer: I escaped death! All those who were saved came to see themselves as one people: we were together in slavery, together we survived death, we share one and the same God—a Saviour and Liberator. We are the People of God!

In the risen Christ the passage from death to life transcends all boundaries of human history. The Pascha-Passover of the Old Testament was limited to the salvation of a limited circle of people from a danger that was limited in time. Our Pascha, the Pascha of our Lord, the Eternal Pascha, as we sing in our Paschal Matins, is not only salvation from the temporary danger of a physical illness and mere bodily death. Today Christ grants salvation from the very cause of death—to all people, of all times and nations. We aren’t speaking here merely of salvation from an emerging sickness or protection from the sword, even an angelic one, as it was in the case of the Israelites in Egypt. Having gone from suffering and death to the resurrection, Christ, in the words of the Apostle Paul, destroyed deadly sin and crucified it on the cross along with its hellish power to enslave.

The Eternal Pascha is a victory and a mockery over the very sting of death, as the Apostle proclaims today: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:54-57). In his resurrection, Christ removed our enslaving chains of fear before death, and transformed that fear, by granting us paschal entrance into a new life. With the resurrection, we have opened before us a door that leads us from that which passes away to that which lasts forever. The Pascha of our Lord opens for us the door to joyful eternity. We were together in the chains of death—today, as the united People of God of the New Testament, we share in the common experience of joy in the resurrection.

When those bound by chains in the realm of Hades saw Your boundless mercy

In the face of the global pandemic, we suddenly recognized that as humans we are weak and mortal. The coronavirus brought a deadly danger to the rich and poor, to all people, with no regard for place of residence around the globe, for race or religious persuasion. Possibly, for the first time, we came to understand that we are all equally vulnerable and in need, but we have also come to see ourselves as one human family: that, which affected people in one corner of the planet—carried over to and impacted people on the other side of the world—it personally affected each one of us.

The entire world has found itself as if bound together by the chains of Hades. The fear of becoming ill and dying, the pain of losing family members, friends and acquaintances, the darkness of loneliness and despair in circumstances of enforced isolation, the ruin of new methods of communication and the collapse of world economic systems have become our common universal chains. As shackles restrict a slave, so have the strict rules of quarantine—the only possible way to fight this deadly disease—suddenly restricted all humanity: airports have ceased to operate, trains have stopped running, borders between nations, having almost receded from our consciousness, once again have been reasserted as impenetrable iron gates.

In the midst of this darkness of fear and captivity for contemporary humankind, we have a unique opportunity to grasp anew what it means to be a Christian. As Christians, we are those, who in the Mystery of Baptism, have already died to this world and have risen together with our Saviour! We are the heirs of the apostles, who saw the Risen One with their own eyes and with their own hands touched his glorified Body, the Body that went from death on the cross to eternal life. In these circumstances, which temporarily deprived us of the possibility of fully participating in the liturgical life of our churches and communities, we rediscovered the importance of spiritual life in our Christian families, traditionally called domestic churches. Unintentionally, many of us have found ourselves thinking of the time when we celebrated Easter in the underground, how we, not having the possibility of coming together in church, were joined with the Eucharistic Christ at Divine Liturgy being broadcasted on the Vatican, and we held our Easter baskets before our radio receivers to be blessed. No one and nothing can deprive Christians of the joy of Christ’s Resurrection! Families, in which Christians consciously and maturely confront today’s challenges, in a special way, demonstrate their character as domestic churches, becoming for its members homes of profoundly intense prayer, blessing, sacrifice and spiritual growth, places of encounter with the living Christ. At the same time, we are discovering new methods of spiritual unity, over wh