Jubilee Year of Saint Josaphat concluded with solemn Liturgy in the Vatican

13.11.2023, 17:23
photo by Roman Paliukh - фото 1
photo by Roman Paliukh
On November 12, the culmination of the Jubilee Year commemorating the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych took place. On this occasion, the Head of the UGCC (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church), Sviatoslav, presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on the cathedral throne of the Basilica of Saint Peter.

This was reported by the UGCC Information Department.

The sermon was delivered by Archbishop Gintaras Grušas of Vilnius. In Lithuania, according to the decision of the Lithuanian parliament, this Jubilee Year was celebrated at the state level.

A significant Lithuanian delegation, led by the President of the Parliament, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, was present at the solemn Liturgy in the Vatican. Alongside His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Lithuanian bishops participated, including Archbishop of Vilnius and President of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, Gintaras Grušas, Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine Archbishop Visvaldas Kulbokas, Commissioner of the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore Archbishop Rolandas Mačiukas, as well as UGCC bishops Dionysius Lyakhovych and Iryney Bilyk.

In his sermon, Archbishop Grušas emphasized that the life of St. Josaphat was connected with many nations of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, including Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, and Belarus.

"His life," the archbishop noted, "touched many peoples and nations, as he sought to bring everyone to unity in Christ. In the difficulties, we face today in the world, in Ukraine, and in other countries, amid wars, migrations, and many other crises, the life of Josaphat gives us hope that the Lord can use each of us as an instrument to establish His Kingdom here on earth, starting from our hearts and acting in the surrounding world."

His Beatitude Sviatoslav recalled how exactly a year ago, together with Archbishop of Vilnius and UGCC hierarchs, they solemnly opened the Jubilee Year of St. Josaphat with a prayer at his tomb. He thanked Archbishop Gintaras for jointly experiencing this jubilee, saying, "Thank you for remembering St. Josaphat, for thereby healing the modern wounds of Europe and Ukraine."

The Head of the UGCC thanked the Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine and all bishops, priests, and laity for their presence at the Liturgy, especially highlighting the Lithuanian delegation. His Beatitude Sviatoslav also greeted the fathers and sisters of the Basilian Order, from which St. Josaphat originated, and the Ukrainian Papal College in Rome named in his honor. The students of this college accompanied the Divine Liturgy with their singing.

Separately, the Head of the UGCC addressed the Ukrainian pilgrims who had come to Rome in such large numbers on this day and had begun confessing and receiving Communion: "Perhaps, for Josaphat, this is the greatest honor that we, as God's people, could do together on the day of his memory. Because he commanded us to do everything to be free from sin through the Sacrament of Confession, and by the power of the Blood and Body of the crucified Savior, to be united with the Lord God throughout our lives."