Managing affairs of the UOC Metropolitan Anthony (Pakanich) commented on the religious procession that took place in Ukraine.
“The religious procession took place. But the main thing for us is not this, but whether the Lord heard our prayers, and whether there will be peace in Ukraine. We hope he did.
The events that accompanied the procession tell us that to achieve peace it will be very difficult. Peace is not simply the cessation of hostilities. Peace is mutual forgiveness, the purity of the heart and the mind, it is reconciliation with God and with each other. The world is love. This isn’t present at the moment.
Our society is divided. No, not divided by rich and poor financially, but rich and poor spiritually. To accuse someone of this does not make sense – we are all to blame. Anger, hatred, and aggression, which literally overflowed us, finds for itself the necessary soil in our hearts. And it turns out that some people hate others not because there’s some kind of rational explanation (although, what rational explanation is hatred?), but because it is wanted by our common enemy. Satan.
Mutual anger can be conquered only by love. And if someone’s love is not enough, then in others there should be twice more. These others, we Christians are called to be. Now it is not enough only to speak about love, now we have to implement it, to embody it if you want. In our life, work, and communication with people. Love is the only virtue that can save our society from the final dive into the abyss of mutual hatred. Perhaps that is why our Lord Jesus Christ paid so much attention to preach especially this virtue. “In this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another”, “a new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another” “love your enemies, bless those who curse you”… These are all words spoken to us Christians. It was said not as wishes, but as a guide to action.
The religious procession has exactly become a test of whether there is love in our hearts. Not to respond to acts of aggression and provocations, but to find in yourself the strength to pray for those who cursed at you and threw garbage at participants and relics, to keep on going when it seemed that there was no strength and desire to go on, all this has passed, and we’ve passed through it.
But, really, our journey is not over. It only just begun on Vladimir’s Hill. It is from this place we all move towards the world. Towards each other. Towards Love…” said Metropolitan Antony.
Translated by Ollie Richardson