Perhaps there, under the Chersonesos, St. Volodymyr understood: in order to bring together all the lands and all the people of the Kyivan state, to heal the separation, the only thing which is needed is faith in God’s mercy, love and forgiveness.
This was stated by the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church His Beatitude Sviatoslav during the Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ on the day of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Volodymyr.
The Primate noted that the Gospel event we hear today reveals to us God Who forgives, God Who absolves us from our sins.
According to him, the preaching of the forgiveness of sins is at the heart of the preaching of the holy Apostles. This was the main truth in which the Apostles believed themselves and taught to believe the whole universe.
What does it mean to absolve sins? “Forgiving sins does not mean concealing evil.” Forgiving sins does not mean closing one’s eyes on their existence. It means to heal a person, to give him fullness of life,” says the preacher.
The spiritual leader of the Ukrainians convinces: in order to accept the forgiving of sins, one must believe that it is possible. “Faith means the ability to accept. In order to accept forgiveness, it is necessary to reveal one’s sins, to open them before God’s eyes. The Lord God sees everything, but the ability to give us His forgiveness is shown when we bring ourselves to Him,” the preacher invited to reflection.
The Holy Fathers of the desert said that when a man brings his evil on the light, then it loses its power. When we hide evil and want to show ourselves better than we really are, then that evil grows, destroys us, makes us weaker.
“But to bring our sins into the light of God, we must believe that the next act will not be punishment or even worse pain, but there will be joy, forgiveness, and mercy,” said the Primate and added: “Therefore we, as Christians, gladly proclaim faith in the fact that the Lord forgives sins. Today’s world does not believe in it. It believes only in treachery, punishment, even greater suffering to the one who sins. And we, Christians, believe in the power of God’s forgiveness.”
His Beatitude Sviatoslav invited every believer to discover the secret of personal holiness of Prince Volodymyr, the secret of his special gift of the Equal Apostleship. “What happened in the soul of Prince Volodymyr, who stood under the walls of Chersonesos and defeated this city? We can only guess. But, apparently, there, at the peak of his earthly glory, he realized that true victory is forgiveness,” said the Head of the UGCC.
The Head of the Church invited all the faithful to renew their baptismal vows on that day. “The treasure of faith of Prince Volodymyr becomes the treasure of every Ukrainian, every son and daughter of Christ’s Church,” the Primate convinces.
During the Liturgy, the faithful, led by His Beatitude Sviatoslav, carried out the Rite of the renewal of baptismal vows.
The Rite of the renewal of baptismal vows on the day of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Volodymyr in 2006 in the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church was introduced by the then Father and Head of the UGCC His Beatitude Lubomyr. Since then, each year in all churches in Ukraine and throughout the world, the faithful after the Liturgy restore their baptismal vows.
Department of Information of the UGCC