27 September 2023
Dear brothers and sisters!
I greet you on the great Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious Cross of the Lord, one of the Twelve Great Feasts! The Exaltation of the Cross was performed for the first time on the place of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Empress Helen with the clergy found the Cross of Christ after long searches, in the fourth century. It was done for the sake of the Triumph of the true Orthodox faith and for many thousands of pilgrims, who had gathered in the Holy Land for the first time since the end of most cruel persecution of Christians.
Since then, the finding of the great sacred thing is commemorated and the elevation, or solemn lifting up, of the Cross of the Lord with blessing everything that exists on all four sides of the world is performed in every Orthodox church on this day.
Today, we festively adorn the Cross of Christ, praise it in hymns, and kneel before it not only in remembrance of the past but also as a sign to the present and future.
So that at the very time when sinful passions rage around us like a fiery whirlwind, when people stop seeing in their neighbour someone like them, let alone their brother, when distresses and tribulations paralyse hearts and despair chills souls, when persecution of the Church of Christ and attacks upon the clergy and upon churches and monasteries once again take place, when faith is lost on a large scale…
So that a man who is tired of all this godless nonsense and cruelty can always lift his head and see that Sacrifice through Which he has been redeemed, that Gift of God which is worth living for, that Path on which he should walk to the One Who has already saved all of us, Who knows, loves, and waits for us. The Lord has shown us the greatest example of humility, patience, gentleness, and mercy. The Cross of Christ is our spiritual beacon. It is a sign of God’s undefeatable power.
May it protect everyone on his life path. May it save him from all evil.
May it give us earthly and spiritual peace, the grace and joy of the soul, the purity of thoughts and intentions. May it give us strength not to back down and not to give up, to be devoted to Christ, our true Ukrainian Orthodox Church, our Primate — His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy, our traditions, and one another. May it fill us with the inspiration to bear our own life cross, never abandoning it or passing it to others, with humility and patience, with spiritual joy and gratitude for everything the Lord sends us for our salvation. I once again cordially greet you on the feast!
May the Cross of Christ enlighten us all!
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