24 March 2024
Today, we celebrate the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
Somebody may think, ‘What is there to celebrate?’ Christianity is still the most persecuted religion. In Ukraine, a country that just recently was considered to be unquestionably Orthodox, the canonical Church is oppressed, persecuted, our churches are seized by force and through deceit, the episcopate, clergy, and parishioners are harassed, slander is made against us, and there are attempts to present us as enemies of the people.

All these obstacles to normal church life are leading to sin, and, hence, its effects — malice and hatred — increasing in people, while kindness and love are diminishing. As a result, unfortunately, today, more and more people forget about God, His commandments, and their calling, and eventually lose their humanity, become capable of horrible deeds, stop feeling the pain of others, and find joy in other people’s grief. The recent events are a proof to that.

Sin is the cause of all wars, deaths, and human afflictions and misfortunes. It is against sinful vices that the Church of Christ is called to struggle, and she keeps doing it even in the circumstances of large-scale state persecution.
Patriarch Pavle of Serbia once said: ‘If we need to perish, then it is better to be a dead man than living but inhuman.’
The history of today’s feast reveals to us that it is because the true Church is the Church of Christ that she suffers. Because she does not follow not the spirit of this world, but lives according to God’s instructions. And for that very reason she is undefeatable. No matter how much earthly authorities want to subjugate the Church of Christ to themselves and their ambitions, they will never be able to do it.

The Triumph of Orthodoxy is also a triumph of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church as the bearer of the purity of Orthodoxy in the Ukrainian land. Today, we rejoice in the fact that we are part of her, that we are God’s.
We commemorate all the saints who overcame former heresies and schisms, preserved the purity of faith for us, never compromised with their conscience or made deals with the godless, and remained faithful to Christ even unto death. And we believe that the Church will definitely emerge victorious from this latest period of her history, for she is not a creation of man, but a creation of God. Time will pass, and all the present split-ups and delusions, as well as all the unrepentant persecutors of canonical Orthodoxy, will also be anathematised.

Our country and our people are now living through most hard trials. But the truth and consolation is that the mercy and grace of God have never abandoned nor will ever abandon us if we firmly and zealously preserve our Orthodox faith and faithfulness to the Holy Mother Church and thank God for everything.

Happy feast, dear brothers and sisters!
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