Shevchuk especially thanks the priests of the occupied territories

“Today we celebrate the establishment of the sacrament of the priesthood in the New Testament. We see the special value of the priestly service, especially in conditions of war. The priest of Christ is the first to save people’s lives. Today, from the wounds of Ukraine and our people during the war “emphasizes the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Vatican News

Glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today is the 57th day of the patriotic resistance to Russian military aggression in Ukraine. Today we celebrate a special day, live a special party.

On April 21, 2022, Ukraine celebrates Holy Thursday. This is the day when our Lord, our God Jesus Christ, before His Passover, held the Passover Sacrament Supper with His disciples and apostles. On this day of the Last Supper, we reflect on the holy day, the day when the Lord revealed to mankind the secret of his profound divinity. He made them partakers of His divine life, and this participation in the divine life is granted to man through the sacraments of the Church.

Today, Holy Thursday, we remember the institution of the Eucharist, the mystery of the Body and Blood of our Savior with which He nourishes mankind; The Eucharist, which is an antidote against death and gives us the possibility to be partakers of his body and blood for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Today we also celebrate the establishment of the sacrament of the priesthood in the New Testament. Jesus Christ shares with men the priesthood, which is not of men, but of God himself, the priesthood of the second hypostasis of God. He bestows the great grace of the priestly service of the Son of God to his apostles, and then to the bishops who succeeded him, and so the priesthood, God’s service to man, embraces men of all ages and all nations.

This Holy Thursday function is very special. Today, in the Patriarchal Cathedral, we bless the altars at which the Eucharist will be completed. Today, we will bless the great holy myrrh that from Kyiv, from the heart of our Church, will spread throughout Ukraine and the whole world, taking with it the grace of the Holy Spirit, sanctifying the spiritual force that animates the Church all days and every year.

Today we are witnessing a special order of the Church that the bishop performs on Holy Thursday, which is to wash the feet of the clergy only according to our tradition. It is a special moment, the experience of the Last Supper, when Christ girded himself with a towel and washed the feet of his disciples. In doing so, he may have demonstrated the meaning and manner of God’s priestly service to man. God who prostrates before people like a slave and washes their feet and heals their sins and heals their wounds.

On this great and great Thursday, I wish to pay a special tribute to the bishops, priests, monks and seminarians, who are preparing to become priests, for their service and their zeal in answering the call to the priesthood.

We see the special value of priestly service, especially in conditions of war. The priest of Christ is the first to save people’s lives. He is the first to take care of the wounds of the people of today, the wounds of Ukraine and our people during the war. Our clergy have borne the brunt of this war: to serve where the need is greatest.

Today, I would like to especially thank the priests of the occupied territories, the priests who are with their people at the most important points of military operations. In particular, I am grateful for the service of our military pastors, who are with our troops today, every day, preaching the word of God as the tragedy of war unfolds.

Today I would like to ask all our faithful, all lay people, and our monastic community to thank their priests for their service. Say a kind word to them today, and congratulate them on this day, for they need to feel that their people love their priests. They are ready to sacrifice their lives for their flock, and do it enthusiastically every day.

God bless Ukraine. God bless our Ukrainian army! May God bless our cities and villages that were set on fire tonight. From the burning city of Kharkiv to Donbass, Mariupol, Kherson, Mykolaiv and from all cities and towns waiting for your presence! Oh God, send priests, send your servants to your great harvest prepared today at this difficult time! God bless Ukraine!

The grace of the Lord descends upon you with His grace and His love for men now and forever and to the ages of all ages. Trustworthy

Glory be to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Svyatoslav +
Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
2022.04.21

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