Public Prayer for Ukraine Conducted With Participation of Yulia Tymoshenko
KYIV — On February 5, 2010, on the Square of the Holy Sophia in Kyiv, a Prayer for Ukraine was conducted with the participation of representatives of various denominations: Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church, All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Christians of the Evangelical Faith, the Pentecostals, Ukrainian Evangelical Christian Church, All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians Baptists, Armenian Apostolic Church. The prayer was also attended by presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko who called Ukrainians to jointly pray for Ukraine’s unity. She also asked for forgiveness for the authorities’ mistakes.
In their addresses, representatives of the churches stressed the importance to make a responsible choice in favor of Ukraine and called the faithful to come to the elections and show civic maturity and responsibility by choosing the state’s head freely and without external pressure.
In his address, the head of UOC-KP Patriarch Filaret stressed: “We, those living in a free state, should thank God for giving us freedom, but freedom is not self-will. Freedom is the choice of good, whereas the choice of evil is bondage. It depends on us whether we choose good or evil, freedom or bondage.”
The head of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Mefodiy stated: “They say there is no woman in politics. In a monastery, she was and continues to be a woman, and in the army and even in jail, a doctor, an engineer, if she is a woman, she is a woman. And they use their words as a cover up and unfairly slander her, she who is trusted by millions of Ukrainians… Each of us should pray for the one holding the freedoms of each person and each state and ask the Lord to strengthen Yulia Volodymyrivna so that everything she does will bring all of us much good.”
An address on the occasion of the presidential elections on behalf of the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate was read by the Vicar of the Kyivan Metropolis of UOC-MP, Bishop Panteleimon of Vasylkivtsi. In his address the primate notes that “by voting for a candidate we share his responsibility for the country’s future. Therefore, before making the choice, each Christian should evaluate each candidate primarily according to the interests of our Church and our Nation.” Metropolitan Volodymyr called Ukrainians to accept any result of the elections: “Let us remind you, dear brethren and sisters, that any result of the election is to be accepted humbly by us as children of Christ’s Church.”
According to Yulia Tymoshenko, it was symbolic that the participants gathered in the Square of the Holy Sophia: “It was here that the events took place which became symbolic for our state. It is the conversion to Christianity, unification of eastern and western Ukraine into one, unified, undivided independent Ukraine. This very square saw Bohdan Khmelnytskyi and Yaroslav the Wise. Ukraine’s historic decisions were formed exactly here. On this square. And today, we also have gathered here as Ukraine again is faced with difficult challenges, very difficult tasks: actually, two ways are open again. And in order to have confidence and knowledge of where to go we approach God as Sophia is translated as wisdom and wisdom is the most important thing to be asked from God today,” she stressed.
“I want to ask the Lord for forgiveness to be given to all the authorities and to me personally, for all unjust and dishonest things done by all the authorities including those headed by me.”
She also asked God for His blessing for Ukraine in the difficult time. “If the Lord ordained it so that our state gained independence, that our state gained freedom to form its own path and actions according to its understanding, at its discretion, for the sake of its people, I would ask the Lord to bless Ukraine and our nation along this path, strengthen Ukraine’s independence, protect our nation, give us wisdom and love to ensure that our native stand is just toward each person, that our state is the mother for each of its citizens.”
Tensions mounted this week as Tymoshenko accused Yanukovych of plotting to rig the vote and warned that she would mobilize her supporters for mass street protests in the event of vote fraud.