Three Questions on the Unity of the Ukrainian Church

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Monday, 01 August 2016, 17:40
Lubomyr Huzar
Major Archbishop Emeritus of the Ukrainian Catholic Church

My last two columns for Ukrayinska Pravda are my thoughts on the unity of the Ukrainian Church. They were created during this summertime, when the ordo honors the righteous from the times when Christianity became our national religion. They are princess Olga, the equal to the apostle prince Volodymyr the Great and princes-martyrs Borys and Hlib. And together with them we honor the great event of our history which is Christianization of Kyivan Rus.

An incredible thing is that the unity of our Church is a difficult subject to discuss now, because what once was one and soothed the souls of those who believe, nowadays, a thousand years afterwards, fills us with pain because our Church is so divided.

The readers of the two previous columns commented on them very accurately. To generalize, those good souls said: it’s easy to talk about unity and mourn its lacking, but what should be done to return to it? This comment is indeed very valid and I will try to answer it.

As I already wrote a number of times: it’s easy to discuss unity. One might say such discussions became very popular now, even among politicians.

Yet we, the humble followers of the Church, realize that its unity is God’s providence and that is why it should be approached by thinking in religious terms. Unity of the Church is not something we can encompass with our human efforts.

Unity is God’s bestowal which we might receive from the hand of the Merciful and Almighty, if ask Him full-heartedly. To say it in simple words: we need to address God with our prayer.

Praying for unity is not a simple thing because such a prayer is not words we will be speaking. No, the prayer should be born in our heart, it should be the stipulation of God’s will.

Therefore, my dear readers, while recalling the people and the events that occurred a millennium ago and thinking at the same time about our modern times, I would like to invite you to ask yourself several questions which I united into three groups.

First: what good did I do to my neighbor, my brother, even if he does not belong to my Church or my religion? Did I respect him? Did I speak well of him? Did I wish him good? Did I try to abstain from anything that might offend him?

Second: what bad did I do to my brother, who does not belong to the same Church or religion? Did I ridicule him? Did I enjoy his bad luck or bad things happening to him or when he was wrong?

Third: did I avoid something good that I could have done for my brother? Did I enjoy his success? Did I encourage him when he did something good? Did I support him at times of peril? Did I talk to him with kind words?

When we answer these questions with our eyes and our heart, then we see how frank and truthful our prayer is. When we are wishing well to our neighbor, disregarding his religion or church affiliation, seeing him as a brother, a child of Our Heavenly Father, then our prayer is honest.

God Almighty is watching us, he listens to our prayer and he says, as Jesus Christ taught us: "I forgive your debts as you have forgiven your debtors". Therefore, we must find that kindness, that goodness somewhere in our heart and wish it to everybody else. This should be the basis of our unity, which God Almighty, Our Heavenly Father, wants to give us and is already giving (not just promises to give) and we only must be ready to accept it.

Translated by Gennadiy Kornev

A column serves to express the personal opinion of the author. It does not aim to be objective or comprehensive about the topic in question. The opinion of Ukrayinska Pravda editors may differ from that of the author. The editors are not responsible for the factual accuracy and interpretation of the information, our media outlet hereby only serves as a platform.

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