Video-message of His Beatitude Sviatoslav. August 7. 165 th day of the war

Sunday, 07 August 2022, 22:25
Glory to Jesus Christ! Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Sunday 7 August 2022 and the Ukrainian people have been fighting this unequal struggle against the Russian aggressor for 165 days. We, as a people, defend our God-given homeland, which we are called to love. Our Motherland, where the Lord God gave us the gift of being born and growing up. That homeland, which is our priceless gift from God.

Today, once again during this night and during the last day, the Ukrainian land, our homeland, shuddered under Russian bombs, missiles, strikes of Russian aviation, and artillery.

The city of Kharkiv was shelled again, and three districts of this great city are on fire. The city of Mykolayiv is being methodically destroyed by the enemy every day with terrible, so-called carpet bombing. Our Dnipropetrovsk region was massively shelled that night. Large industrial cities, districts of the Kryvorizky district, the city of Nikopol, were fired upon by rockets that damaged gas pipelines and power lines.

But Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying. Although every day she is forced to mourn new and new victims of Russian aggression.

Today, I want to continue with you the reflection on the great treasure that the Lord God in the Holy Spirit gives to the human person through Christian prayer. Yesterday, we concluded with you a reflection on the prayerful reading of the Holy Scriptures. In our next few days, I would like you and I to see how God's Word in the life of the Church turns into the most powerful spiritual prayer, the strongest prayer of contemplation of God. That prayer, which we all know very well, although not all of us understand, that it really is the spoken Word of God in the life of the Church.

Today I would like you and I to pay attention to the Jesus Prayer. This prayer of Jesus, which is an incessant invocation of God's mercy, God's name, has a very important meaning in the history of the Church. In monastic life, it is called a "true spiritual sword" that defeats all the devil's tricks. But this short contemplative, meditative prayer, naturally arose from the texts of the Holy Scriptures. We read that the most common appeal of the blind men of Jericho and Capernaum to Jesus Christ, the appeal of the Canaanite woman, was the phrase: "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!" And so the phrase so deeply touched those who pray and listen to God's Word that it was transformed into the very words of the Jesus Prayer: "Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!" And this phrase is constantly said by the people of God throughout the day, week, year, throughout their lives, and repeated, as we learned to do it yesterday, as the fifth step of prayerful reading of the Scripture. 

Sometimes this prayer, even its shortens, becomes more concentrated. Of its many words, only two remain: "Lord, have mercy". Probably, each of us had prayed this prayer many times in the Divine Liturgy. Because the first part of the phrase "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God" indicates who God is. And the second part "have mercy on me a sinner," says who I am. The Lord is a merciful source of life and salvation, and I am one who asks for God's Mercy, His Love. The meeting of those two realities creates miracles. I encourage all of you to pray this contemplative, meditative prayer of constant invocation of God's name, because the Holy Scriptures say: "They surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I will overcome them" (Psalm 117:11). Let the Lord's name invoked in the Jesus prayer become the strength of our victory.

Today, I would like to especially address on this Sunday those brothers and sisters of ours whom, unfortunately, today the world calls "refugees"—those who were forced to leave their homeland. And today they are scattered throughout the countries of Central and Western Europe, as well as in other parts of the world.

Dear sons and daughters, children of Ukraine! I ask you to be worthy ambassadors of your homeland, because when the world meets you, it wants to see, hear, and meet Ukraine in your face. Please preserve your culture, language, church, and religious identity. I am asking you to join our Ukrainian communities that exist in the countries where you are. Take care of the Christian and national upbringing of your children. Please do not abuse the hospitality of those peoples who receive you. Don't just be consumers of their help, but actively participate in the work. In order to increase the common good of the country that has become your new home today. Integrate into the life of that country. But with all your strength resist assimilation, the disappearance of your personal, cultural, and national identity. As our Kobzar says: "Gain knowledge, brothers! Think and read, and to your neighbours' gifts pay heed, yet do not thus neglect your own" (Taras Shevchenko, 1845). Be the voice of Ukraine to the world.

O God, bless Ukraine. Bless our Ukrainian people. Give us the strength to defeat evil in Your name. Bless our Ukrainian army. And grant that Your long-awaited, just, peace of God come to the Ukrainian land.

May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love of mankind, always, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen. 

Glory to Jesus Christ!

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