Wednesday, March 29, 2023

    Epifaniy: our prayer at this time of war “contribution” to future victory

    In any fasting, its spiritual component is decisive. The war, in the fiery maelstrom of which we are forced to live, radically changes the form of fasting for many, although it cannot change its essence – self-restraint for the sake of spiritual improvement, spiritual stability, and freedom.

    This was emphasized by the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy, who spoke on the third week of Lent.

    “The entire Ukrainian nation has been living under special restrictions and limitations for more than a year already. Don’t our soldiers limit themselves when they sacrificially stand at the forefront of the fight against the enemy? Don’t our doctors, volunteers and those who host and help internally displaced persons limit themselves? Don’t Ukrainian children, parents, and the elderly limit themselves? Our entire nation is now carrying its own fast of sacrifice and its own heavy cross.

    The struggle against Russian aggression has two dimensions: physical resistance and spiritual resistance. This resistance is our heartfelt, sincere prayers, our own fulfillment of the Lord’s commandments, care for our neighbors, and deeds of mercy. Not everyone can and is capable of defending Ukraine from the enemy up in arms. But each of us, Christians, not only can, but must defend it from the demonic Russian embitterment with prayer and God-pleasing deeds.

    Fasting and prayer, as the Savior pointed out, help us in the fight against the exorcism of the evil spirit: “This kind cannot come out except by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Therefore, our prayer at this time, prayer for the Ukrainian army, for the state, for those who suffer from the war, as well as requests for God’s protection, for victory and a just peace, is the contribution of every believer to bringing victory closer.

    On Sunday of this week, which marks the middle of the Holy Week, we honor the Holy and Life-giving Cross of the Lord in a special way by worshipping it. Hence the name of this Sunday, the Holy Cross Sunday. The Cross of the Lord is a symbol of sacrifice, but at the same time a great victory over evil and darkness. These meanings again echo in our hearts in a special way in times of war because they contain pain and suffering due to great sacrifices and losses, as well as the strongest desire for victory and peace.

    Now all of us, Ukrainians, are bearing our own heavy cross, bearing the common cross of Ukraine, and we are bearing it to the Calvary of suffering in order to defeat evil and achieve a great Victory. May the bright day of victory come closer by the will of God!