UOC Primate: We believe Independence was given to us by God’s Providence
According to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphrius, full Independence is impossible without the internal unity of the people.
The Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine, congratulated the faithful of the UOC and all compatriots on the 32nd anniversary of the country's independence.
He stressed that "in this difficult period of our history when the Russian Federation is making a military attack on our Motherland – Ukraine, state independence has acquired a special meaning for us".
"The Holy Scripture says that the Lord defined limits for each nation on earth to dwell (Acts 17:26), gave the land for possession and commanded not to violate these limits (Deuteronomy 19:14)," the Primate noted. “Accordingly, we believe that our land, our country and its independence were given to us by the Providence of God. Therefore, those who attacked our country occupied our land and continue to wage this aggressive and bloody war are committing a sin before God. The truth of God is on our side, and we are called to defend our land and the independence of our country."
At the same time, His Beatitude drew attention to the fact that "the holy Apostle Paul, when he says that God has determined the limits of residence for each nation, further indicates the immediate purpose of such a decision of God: 'so that they may seek God, whether they may not feel Him and find Him, even though He is not far from each of us' (Acts 17:26-27)."
“A godly life according to the commandments of God is the guarantee of the long and good existence of every nation in its land. Every nation is preserved on the stage of history as long as it sincerely believes in God, prays to Him, and seeks His intercession. The Holy Scripture testifies that "if the Lord does not build a house, those who build it labour in vain; if the Lord does not protect a city, the watchman watches in vain" (Psalm 126:1)," writes the Archpastor.
He notes that "in this regard, the events that have taken place over the past year and continue in the religious life of our country are of deep concern".
"The seizures of our churches, the defamation and expulsion of our believers who are citizens of Ukraine, the slander against the Church, and sometimes even open manifestations of atheism and disbelief, which we, in particular, observed during the Great Lent near the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, do not contribute to the sustaining of God's grace in our much-suffering Ukraine. When one part of our people prays and another part dances blasphemously around; when one part of our people goes to churches for prayer and another part expels them from there, seals and closes the churches – all these are signs of tragic division, which harm the spiritual unity of the people, destroy the sense of consolidation around common goals, and consequently harm the independence of our State. Full independence is impossible without internal unity of the people. While fighting for the restoration of the territorial integrity of our country today, we cannot simultaneously destroy the spiritual integrity of our people," the Primate emphasized.
According to him, "despite the fact that we, the citizens of Ukraine, are all different in terms of confessional affiliation, we all feel that we belong to our common Ukrainian home, we rejoice together at common victories and mourn together at failures, we cry together at common pain and tragedies of the war".
His Beatitude called on all citizens of Ukraine "to realize the unity of our fate, to take responsibility for our country, and to diligently work each day in our respective places to strengthen our independence."
"And perhaps most of all, today I would like to wish all of us in Ukraine to feel each other's pain and to cleanse and heal each other's wounds. Not just physical wounds, but especially wounds of the heart and soul. May our actions not inflict harm on our neighbours but serve and help them. After all, the feeling of each other's pain, the feeling of shared pain, will bring us closer together, unite us and make us strong as a people and a nation. May the blessing of God be with all of us! God the Great, the One, protect Ukraine for us!" the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church concluded.
As reported, on Independence Day, with the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, prayers are offered for Ukraine, its authorities, the Armed Forces, and the entire Ukrainian people in all UOC churches and monasteries, and memorial services are performed for the dead and deceased defenders of the country.