The Head of the UGCC from the tomb of Saint Peter: "Ukraine stands strong! Ukraine fights on! Ukraine prays!"
His Beatitude Sviatoslav recalled that Saint Josaphat, whose martyrdom's 400th anniversary was commemorated during this Liturgy, is the only Ukrainian saint whose relics are kept in the Basilica of Saint Peter, reports the Information Department of the UGCC.
"Today, Josaphat tells us: Children of Ukraine, never listen to those who tell you to give up your unity. Just as our Church has survived through all historical epochs, resisting those who sought to liquidate it because it was in unity with the broader, universal family of the Catholic Church, Ukraine today cannot withstand this war without broad international support and assistance at all levels. Universal Catholic Christian solidarity is a necessary condition for the resilience and survival of our Church and our people - a condition for Ukraine's victory in this struggle of good against evil that our nation is currently engaged in," emphasized the Patriarch of the UGCC in his address.
The Head of the UGCC expressed gratitude to Pope Francis, with whom the Synod bishops had a two-hour meeting the previous day, during which they shared the whole truth about the war in Ukraine.
"Despite the fact that Ukraine is experiencing the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II, due to the personal efforts of the Holy Father and the entire Catholic Church, as well as Europe, Canada, the USA, South America, Australia, this humanitarian crisis has not escalated and probably will not escalate into a humanitarian catastrophe. In Ukraine, no one has died from cold, hunger, or other humanitarian reasons where the power of Catholic love and universal solidarity reached, and the heart and promoter of which is and will be Pope Francis," noted His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
"Therefore, let us tell ourselves the truth and thank the Holy Father and the entire Catholic episcopate of the world for not leaving Ukraine alone today. Let us say here today, from the tomb of Saint Peter to Rome, Ukraine, and the world: Ukraine stands! Ukraine fights! Ukraine prays!" added His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
Additionally, the Head of the UGCC thanked the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, and the second secretary of the Congregation, Father Flavio Pace, for their prayers and assistance to Ukraine, as well as diplomats and ambassadors who attended the Liturgy.
Patriarch Sviatoslav's address to the numerous Ukrainian attendees (over 2,500) at the world's largest Christian church was particularly emotional.
"I look at you and cry because your Ukraine is crying for you! But I know that God loves us, and one day we will all return home. Through the power of love for our homeland, our people, we will overcome," said His Beatitude Sviatoslav. "I thank all those who are helping Ukraine, the Ukrainian army, whether in Italy or in other European countries. The fact that I am here with you today, that I am alive, is a miracle! In Kyiv, we almost did not survive last year. But thanks to the heroism of our young men and women, our soldiers, we are alive, and we have no right to live for ourselves, for our own pleasure. As our poet Franko said: 'It is time for us to live for Ukraine!' This is what calls us, both our human and Christian conscience."
The Liturgy at the Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican concluded with a prayer for Ukraine, "O Great God, the Only One," performed by a male Byzantine choir from Utrecht, Netherlands.