On the Feast of Candlemas, His Beatitude Sviatoslav led the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Procathedral of St. Sophia in Rome. After the liturgy, the Head of the UGCC met with the consecrated persons from various congregations of the UGCC in Rome.
Explaining the concept of salvation in Scripture, His Beatitude Sviatoslav mentioned in his sermon the tenth punishment on Egypt, when “God sent an angel of death, from which only the firstborn of the people of Israel could escape. Then, for the first time, people saw salvation: they realized that God not only gave them life, but also saved them, gives them freedom. From that moment, a new phase in the life of Israel began. So to see salvation meant to see the children saved from death.”
This Old Testament event, as explained by the Bishop, takes on a new meaning with the coming to the land of Jesus Christ: “Today, on the fortieth day after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph bring Him to the temple, performing two precepts. One saying was that the firstborn belongs to God. Bringing the firstborn, the family sacrificed him to the temple. The second law prescribed that after a period of purification a woman must offer sacrifice to God.”
“Simeon announces to us the moment when one can see salvation. First, when it says that the old man will not see death until he meets the Messiah, and second, when Simeon himself says, ‘You can let me go in peace,’ because he realizes that he is not afraid of death, because the One he holds in his arms can save him from death. What Simeon is experiencing at this moment is a herald of not an end, but a new life,” said the Head of the UGCC.
Summarizing the explanation of the event of Candlemas, His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasized that the modern man also needs to “see salvation”. And he added: “Often we see only darkness around us: the darkness of hatred and war, the darkness of the modern culture of death, the darkness of despair and confusion. In this darkness, modern man is incapable of seeing salvation.”
The light in the modern world, stressed the Head of the UGCC, should be the testimony of the faith of Christians. “Whoever holds Christ will never wander in the darkness. Christians are called to discover that our lives are God’s gift, the Lord cares for us, He is our light. Christians must testify that the life we have is a gift of God. My life is ultimately God-owned. The mission of Christians is to be bearers of light,” he said.
The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the UGCC coincides with the Day of Consecrated Life. In his sermon, His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasized that “a modern man can see salvation only when he sees the entire dedication of others.” Therefore, the Head of the UGCC addressed the consecrated persons: “Be a light to the world, because looking at your dedication to God, the world can see salvation. A consecrated life is life for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The Primate also addressed the parents, reminding them that the children are not their property, but God’s gift. “Therefore, have the courage to give your children a dedication to God at some point. Turn them back to our Savior’s hands, allow Simeon and Anna to carry them on their hands so that they may also be a light to the world.”
The Secretariat of the Head of the UGCC in Rome