I urge all of us to find our own personal place in God’s plan for Ukraine and the world, and to find our part in establishing God’s Wisdom in the modern world. The Father and Head of the UGCC emphasized this during his sermon to the faithful on Sunday, September 1, 2019, at the Cathedral of St. Sophia in Rome. This year, the UGCC celebrates the 50th anniversary of the consecration of this temple, which was built by Patriarch Josyf Slipyj.
On this occasion, this year’s Synod of Bishops of the UGCC is held in the Eternal City.
Among the guests of the feast were Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Cardinal Emeritus Domenico Calcagno. The fifth President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko with his wife Maryna and Ukrainian Ambassador to the Vatican Mrs. Tetiana Izhevska also attended the Liturgy.
In his word to the believers, His Beatitude Sviatoslav noted that human life, not material goods, is extremely valuable to God. Today, from the pages of Scripture, we learn that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who wanted to make accounts with his servants. So when he was brought in by one who was guilty of ten thousand talents, he forgave him his debt. In a sermon, the Head of the Church explained this episode from the Gospel and said that people should seek first the wisdom of God, and then we will have both money and glory, and our descendants will bless us.
“Every Christian feels like a forgiven debtor. At his last meeting with our Metropolitans, Pope Francis said the words that should be the slogan of our Christian life: act like a wise, merciful and forgiving God, and then you will receive everything,”said the preacher.
The bishops mentioned the figure of Patriarch Josyf Slipyj, who made a great contribution to the development of the Church and the Ukrainian people, despite great and difficult trials. Thanks to him the UGCC is now a global and united Church.
“In constructing this cathedral, Patriarch Josyf in his wisdom, as a reflection of the Wisdom of God, left a manifesto of identity for every Ukrainian. At one time, he said that this cathedral is a mirror of Sophia of Kyiv. Josyf Slipyj wanted to show God’s Wisdom and wanted to glorify it in this cathedral.”
The Head of the UGCC is convinced that over the half century of its existence, the temple has become an important center of spiritual, cultural and national life of the Ukrainian people.
Before the end of the Liturgy, Cardinal Sandri addressed the audience. He congratulated the members of the UGCC on this important anniversary. Pointing to the historical path of the UGCC, the Cardinal noted: “Your story teaches us that the Lord is the master of history: He gives bread to the hungry. And we see it in the Holodomor tragedy; He leads his people through the ministry of pastors.”
At the end of the Liturgy, the Head of the UGCC thanked everyone who cared for St. Sophia Cathedral in Rome and all those who attended the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the temple. It should be noted that after the Liturgy there was a consecration of the anniversary cross, which on this occasion was established near the cathedral. In addition, the Head of the UGCC presented Patriarchal diploma and expressed his gratitude to the Ambassador of Ukraine to the Vatican, Mrs. Tetiana Izhevska, for her work.
It is to be recalled that on Saturday, August 31, 2019, the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the consecration of St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Rome began with Vespers. His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Father and Head of the UGCC, led the evening service. Fifteen bishops from Ukraine and the diaspora who came to Rome to participate in the work of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC concelebrated it with him.
Department of Information of the UGCC