Tuesday, June 18, 2024

    Ukraine Army’s 112th Brigade receives Paskas from UOC of USA, Stauropegium of Ecumenical Patriarchate

    The Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Ukraine, Bishop Michael of Koman, blessed Paska breads to be delivered to the 112th Brigade of the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

    That’s according to the press service of the UOC of the USA.

    A “paska” is a sweet round loaf of bread which is blessed during Pascha/Easter.  The bread is round, representing the eternity of God.  The bread is baked with yeast, rising tall, representing the Risen Lord.  The bread is sweet, representing the sweetness of Paradise.  Every Ukrainian household, every Ukrainian “Easter” basket, every Ukrainian Paschal meal will include a paska.

    Wishing to ensure that this symbolic tradition continues even in times of war, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Prime Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Diaspora, His Eminence Archbishop Daniel, Consistory President of the UOC of the USA, provided funds donated by the faithful of the Church to purchase pasky (Easter breads) to be sent to the frontlines.  The UOC of the USA, working in conjunction with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, has regularly been providing crucial supplies for both the civilians and the defenders of Ukraine since the beginning of the unprovoked invasion by the Russian Federation in 2022.

    Gathering in the shadow of the St. Andrew Church in Kyiv, Ukraine, Bishop Michael was joined by the leadership of the 112th Brigade, along with military personnel.  His Eminence expressed his gratitude to the representatives of the Armed Forces, sadly marking the third Pascha that Ukraine has celebrated during the full-scale Russian attack, with the enemy actively destroying cities, annihilating entire villages, torturing, and murdering civilians and killing the brave defenders of Ukraine and freedom.

    During these anxious and stressful times, it is more important than ever to remind ourselves that Christ’s Resurrection is a triumph of good over evil, of life over death.  It is with this faith in God that we hope in Ukraine’s victory over evil as well.

    Blessing the boxes filled with the sweet breads and supplies, Bishop Michael stated that these items will go directly to the frontlines, and will not only nourish bodies, but will feed souls.  It is thanks to those men and women who selflessly defend Ukraine, that the civilians are able to continue with their lives.  These blessed items will remind the soldiers of people’s gratitude, and that they are not forgotten, nor are their bravery and sacrifice forgotten.  He continued by stating, “the Ukrainian Armed Forces are not able to come home and celebrate Pascha with their families, therefore, we will send a bit of “home” to them, assuring them of our love, our gratitude and our unending prayers for their safety and triumph.”

    His Eminence expressed his gratitude to the hierarchs of the UOC of the USA and the faithful of the Church for donating generously and supporting their brothers and sisters in Ukraine.  He was moved to see that Ukrainians abroad are also concerned for Ukraine, her people, and for the warriors who are defending their ancestral homeland from tyranny.

    With the army personnel joining Bishop Michael in prayer, the words “Christ is Risen from the dead!” echoed through the streets of Kyiv and up to the golden crosses atop the sky-blue church towering above them.  Turning to the soldiers, His Eminence prayed that Christ would protect them, their families and loved ones, and asked that the Resurrected Lord quickly grant victory to Ukraine, so that her pious and God-fearing people may resume their lives in peace and harmony, rebuild their great nation, and raise their children in freedom.