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May Peace, Love and Unity Always Be Among Us Featured

Published in LifeStyle
Monday, 13 April 2015 12:41

Following is the Paschal Epistle of the Permanent Conference of Ukrainian Orthodox Bishops beyond the Borders of Ukraine.

 

To the God-beloved presbyters, honorable monastics, and all faithful children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the diaspora and in Ukraine:

“Angels in heaven, O Christ Savior,
praise your Resurrection with hymns,
make us worthy here on earth to glorify You
with a pure heart.” (Paschal Stykhyra)

Right Reverend, Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

Christ is Risen!

On this joyful and holy day of the Most-glorious and Divine Resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, we extend most heartfelt greetings to all you Orthodox Christians with the feast of the Lord’s Pascha! The magnificent feast of the Resurrection of Christ calls all of us to consider again the eternal treasures of Christian teaching and offers a golden opportunity to fill our hearts with goodness and love for God and neighbor. The Resurrection of Christ unites us all through faith in the victory of light over darkness, goodness over evil and life over death. The Holy Apostle James reminds us that “as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (Jam 2:26). And so, on these joyful days of Pascha, we should endeavor with especial diligence to prayerfully alleviate the suffering of those oppressed by sorrow, encourage the downcast, perform acts of mercy, love and compassion, and help those in need, who are waiting for us to offer our aid.

Every person, and perhaps even whole nations, experience in their lives various hardships, derision, suffering, and at such times often talk about the victory of evil over good. How many times in our own lives have we ourselves fallen into despair? And so, in order to avoid disenchantment and discouragement, we must remember that evil and untruth are overcome and conquered through the Resurrection of Christ. With faith in the Risen Christ many generations of Christians have finished their earthly journey, accomplished their ascetic struggle of fasting and prayer, patiently endured suffering and sorrow and accepted death, firmly believing in the coming resurrection and eternal life with Christ. St. John Chrysostom stated, “Today people have joined together with the angels, and, clothed in flesh, together with the bodiless powers now offer hymns. Today the dominion of the devil is destroyed, today the bonds of death are broken, the victory of evil and hell is overcome. By His Resurrection, Christ has opened to us the path to salvation.”

The Pascha of Christ has especially great meaning for every Ukrainian this year. We all believe and pray that the Resurrected Christ will assist our Ukrainian people and our homeland of Ukraine to be victorious over her enemy and overcome all difficulties and obstacles which our people are facing. We know that Christ the Savior also experienced a Golgotha, after which came the Resurrection. These words give hope to our Ukrainian nation that we will be vouchsafed exceptional joy, peace and unity following the cruel war and enmity. Our faith would not exist without the Resurrection of Christ. There would be no eternal life without faith. Consequently, our purpose and the essence of our spirituality is our belief in the Risen Christ. The Resurrection of Christ has become the heart and foundation of Christianity. The Holy Church prayerfully calls upon heaven and earth in celebration of this divine joy: “Let the heavens worthily rejoice, and let the earth be glad. Let the whole world, both visible and invisible, keep the feast; for Christ, our Eternal Joy, is Risen” (Tropar of the 1st Ode of the Paschal Canon). May this bright Paschal joy encourage us once again to offer our thanks to the Lord for His great and limitless love for us!

How should Christians respond to this Divine Love and sacrifice for us sinners? We should orient our whole life towards gratitude to God, to the fulfilling of His Сommandments and to learning how to love one another as God has loved us. The path to realizing this goal has been revealed to us by the power of the Resurrection of Christ.

Following the Resurrection, the Lord appeared to the Apostles and greeted them with the words “Peace be unto you.” After hearing Christ’s words, the Apostles felt this peace in their hearts and they felt joy and the Peace of God instead of fear. Today, the words “Peace be unto you” are very important and relevant for the Ukrainian people. The peace which is brought by Christ is also the peace between nations and people.

In celebrating the Pascha of Christ, we should remember that the world today has many conflicts and injustices that give rise to resistance and opposition. We are not lacking in this respect. And so, may the greeting of Christ the Savior – “Peace be unto you” – resound throughout the world, especially in our Ukraine. For our part, let us also hear the voice of the Resurrected Christ, for only sincere and patient love brings us the gift of this long-awaited Peace.

During these joyful spring days, the hopes and expectations of the people for a better future awaken along with the blossoming earth. Therefore, let us strive to increase our good deeds and positive thoughts, which will contribute to the renewal and unity of our Ukrainian nation.

On the occasion of these festal Paschal days, we again extend our most heartfelt greetings to the clergy, deaconate and monastics of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the diaspora, to our youth and children, to all the pious Ukrainian Orthodox people in Ukraine and in the Diaspora, and especially to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, who are experiencing various kinds of difficulties and tribulations defending their homeland.

We believe and pray that a unified Orthodox Church will be established in Ukraine with the Lord’s help. Only under the conditions of spiritual unity will the Ukrainian people achieve a united nation. A strong Ukrainian society cannot exist without spiritual unity. Thus, may peace, love and unity always be among us! On this joyous day of the glorious Resurrection of Christ, let us forgive one another all insults and offenses, embrace each other and joyfully sing: “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life!”

Truly, Christ is Risen!

With archpastoral blessings,

? YURIJ, Metropolitan,?Ukrainian
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada

† ANTONY, Metropolitan,
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.,

Locum Tenens of the Ukrainian
Orthodox Church in Diaspora

† IOAN, Archbishop,
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora

† JEREMIAH, Archbishop,
Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of Brazil
and South America

† ILARION, Bishop,
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada

† ANDRIY, Bishop,
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada

† DANIEL, Bishop,
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.

source: ukrweekly

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Ukrainians (Ukrainian: українці, ukrayintsi) are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens. Also among historical names of the people of Ukraine Rusyns, Cossacks, etc. can be found. According to some dictionary definitions, a descriptive name for the "inhabitants of Ukraine" is Ukrainian or Ukrainian people.

The Ukrainian diaspora is the global community of ethnic Ukrainians, especially those who maintain some kind of connection, even if ephemeral, to the land of their ancestors and maintain their feeling of Ukrainian national identity within their own local community.

A Ukrainian Canadian (Ukrainian: Український канадець, Україноканадець) refers to a Canadian of Ukrainian descent who is an immigrant to or a descendant born in Canada. In 2011, there were an estimated 1,209,085 persons of full or partial Ukrainian origin residing in Canada (mainly Canadian-born citizens) making them Canada's ninth largest ethnic group, and giving Canada the world's third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine itself.

Ukrainian Americans (Ukrainian: Українці Америки, Українці у США) are Americans who are of Ukrainian ancestry. According to U.S. census estimates, in 2006 there were 961,113 Americans of Ukrainian descent representing 0.33% of the American population. The Ukrainian population of the United States is thus the second largest outside the former Soviet Union; only Canada has a larger Ukrainian community. According to the 2000 U.S. census, the metropolitan areas with the largest numbers of Ukrainian Americans are: New York City with 160,000 Ukrainians, Philadelphia with 60,000 Ukrainians, Chicago with 46,000 Ukrainians, Los Angeles with 34,000, Detroit with 33,000 Ukrainians, Cleveland with 26,000 and Indianapolis with 19,000.