Sunday, March 3, 2024

    OCU Head: Nowadays, children dream not about toys, but about their parents returning from war

    On St. Nicholas Day, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epiphany, drew attention to the fact that this year, children are not asking St. Nicholas in their dreams for toys or candy, but for the peace and victory of Ukraine.

    “Children usually ask Saint Nicholas to fulfill their wishes. And every child now has one dream: our victory as soon as possible. It’s not some candy, not phones or tablets, not games or toys, but war-end, peace, tranquility, that children ask from St. Nicholas and God. They ask for their parents to return from the front, so that they could all gather, as a large family, at the festive table in their home. Such are the dreams of the children of war, who are now forced migrants or children of our military, or, unfortunately, already half-orphans or full orphans.

    Today, traditionally, probably for more than one decade in a row, we gather at the St Michael’s Golden Domed Monastery on St. Nicholas Day for a festivity for children. Despite everything, we should arrange a holiday for children, offer them nice emotions and gifts because, despite the war, we are called to bring joy to children and not leave them alone in difficult times.

    The example of St. Nicholas, whose memory we honor today, teaches us to do what you can, in the current circumstances, and to do it with hope in God and love for others. To keep faith, to show it through acts of mercy, to help, to offer others spiritual warmth – this is how each of us step by step can promote good and defeat evil, dispel the darkness of despair and sorrow.

    Every good deed will become like another candle lit in the darkness: it will not drive away all the darkness by itself, but exactly where it is needed, there will be more light. Such is the “life lesson” of St. Nicholas. This is the secret of miracle-working, because every good deed we can do can become a real miracle for someone, the realization of someone’s dream, an answer to someone’s prayers.

    As Christians, we must understand that our charity and sacrifice are not only a holiday tradition, our kindness to our neighbors favors God’s kindness to us. So let’s be helpers of St. Nicholas in numerous good deeds, and not only once a year, but always, at any opportunity!” wrote the Primate.