UGCC and RCC Churches in Ukraine pray for Christian Unity
On January 25-26, 2020, at 18.00, as part of the "Week of Prayers for Christian Unity", interfaith prayer Services took place in the churches of the UGCC and the RCC in Ukraine.
Thus, in Kyiv, Patriarch Sviatoslav of the UGCC, jointly prayed with the bishops of the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Churches prayed in the Church of St. Basil, who, together with Christians around the world, showed solidarity in their desire for unity.
The main theme and slogan of this Ecumenical Week were the words from the acts of the Apostles: "Let us be merciful” (Di, 28, 2). This was stated by Bishop Oleksandr (Drabynko), Metropolitan of Pereyaslav and Vishneve, who rules the Diocese of Pereyaslav and Vyshneve of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
He noted that the Church in Ukraine is divided today. "We cherish our own identities, which, unfortunately, are often formed along the confessional lines rather than Evangelical ones. And this is sad, because giving preference to the secondary, we sometimes lose ourselves as Christians," the preacher said.
According to him, human personality can only take place in a state of communication, through sacrificial openness to God and other people.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked God at the end of the prayer service, which infuses into our hearts the necessity and inevitability of Christian unity.
The head of the UGCC thanked Bishop Oleksandr (Drabinko) for his speech. He also asked me to convey to the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan Epifaniy, the words of gratitude for the fact that the Synod of the OCU established the Department of External Church Relations, and that this new Church is born in openness to the brethren of other Christian communities. He also thanked the brothers of the Roman Catholic Church and the representative of the Armenian Apostolic Church. "Together we are called to witness that active Christian love," added His Beatitude Sviatoslav. The head of the Church expressed gratitude for the wide presence of Protestant brothers.
“And for the first time, we have a representative of an interesting community of Christian Jews among us. Tomorrow, the whole world will celebrate the victims of the Holocaust, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a concentration camp where many representatives of the Jewish people, as well as priests, monks, and nuns of different Nations and nationalities, died,” the head of the UGCC said.
According to the press service of the Kharkiv Exarchate of the UGCC, a week of prayers for the unity of Christians was held in Kharkiv. Ecumenical prayer events were held in the main churches of the city with the participation of bishops, clergy, monastics and numerous believers. The Week of Prayers ended in the lower Church of the Holy Supreme Apostles Peter and Paul, the Cathedral of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker of the UGCC.
On this day, the inter-Confessional prayer service was led by Bishop Vasily (Tuchapets), Exarch of Kharkiv, together with Archbishop Igor (Isichenko) of the UAOC and Bishop Mitrofan of the OCU, priests of the UGCC, RCC, UAOC, OCU, and AAC (Armenian Apostolic Church).
Bishop Igor, who stressed that Kharkiv residents showed hospitality and unity because they had received IDPs from the war zone more than other regions. Speaking about the Ecumenical Week of Prayers, the preacher noted that “his challenge is to test his power of prayer, his own sense of identity, and to be able to rise above the political conflicts of the past that still dominate us today and prevent us from honestly praying with each other.”
“Joint prayer, meetings and communication brought us closer to each other and opened our hearts even more so that we could show mercy, love, and goodwill to each other,” Bishop Vasily said at the end, thanking everyone for their joint prayer.
“Let this prayer, the sermons that we heard every day, be our guide, so that we, as true Christians, grow in love with each other,” added the Exarch of Kharkiv.
On January 25, 2020, an ecumenical prayer service was held in Lviv at the Metropolitan Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The common prayer was joined by representatives of the clergy of different faiths. This prayer service in Lviv ended the Week of Prayers for the unity of Christians.