Vicariate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Of the Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and Canada
His Holiness Patriarch Philaret
from the 60th anniversary of the episcopal ordination and the 55th anniversary at the Kyiv Сathedra
This word literally does not come from the mouth of a believer. It is always embodied in our daily prayers from early childhood. Both in the morning and in the evening rule, in the general temple services, in the church sacraments, we constantly return to this word. It permeates our heart, soul and mind. From childhood, our Holy Patriarch lived with this word - "grace" - both externally and internally. He was born in a village that even in those the Bolsheviks and proletarian times was called Blessed. Therefore, by vocation, our Primate was born in grace and with grace from pious, hard-working parents.
Many of today's parishioners of Volodymyr Cathedral still remember the first service of Archbishop of Kyiv and Halych, Patriarchal Exarch of Ukraine Philaret. Since then, we have all remembered Bishop Philaret as an exemplary prayer leader who sets an example of healthy prayer, for he himself has always treated the worship of the temple with reverent reverence.
St. Gregory the Theologian mentioned the ministry of St. Basil the Great as follows: neither by sight nor by thought, as if nothing new had happened in the temple, but clinging to God, I will say so, stand in some fear and reverence. " If this testimony draws a parallel with modern pastors, they can no doubt be attributed to Patriarch Philaret.
As the years of the Holy Patriarch's life multiply, he performs more and more services and happily goes to his Vladimir Cathedral. He really finds peace for the soul in the conciliar prayer. It changes him, the spirit is invigorated when the body sometimes becomes weak, and it is a true charge for work, for struggle.
The pious, penetrating, truthful word of the Most Holy Bishop is always connected with the present, addressed to all believers. As a wise archpastor, the Patriarch enriches his teachings with his own deep theological experience, paying attention to the most important thing in earthly life - the salvation of human souls. Most of his sermons are an in-depth analysis of the gospel and its connection to the present.
And one more thought, which in the days of veneration of our jubilee - His Holiness Patriarch Philaret - does not leave. Now everyone is affected by the crisis. When St. Nicholas of Serbia was asked, "What is a crisis?", He replied: "You ask me, man of God, about the cause and significance of the crisis that has occurred. Who am I that you ask me about this great secret? ” "Speak if you have something more than silence," said St. Gregory the Theologian. And although I believe that silence is now higher than any word, but out of love for you I will write what I think about it. "Crisis" is a Greek word, which means "court". The word "judgment" is used repeatedly in Scripture. Replace the word "court" with the word "crisis" and read… "
His Holiness Patriarch Philaret also warned us about the crisis, only spiritual: “How does a financial or economic crisis arise? Is it not from a spiritual crisis? Since the late 1990s, our Patriarch has kept repeating: "Nurture and preach spiritual values, put them first." But we were all deaf. The vortex of confrontation has eaten away at Ukrainian society. That is why today the Patriarch brings us back to the understanding of the main thing in our life - the increase of spiritual values, which are the basis of civil society. “Why should we care about spiritual values first? - the Patriarch asks us and answers for us, - because they are immutable and lead a person to bliss. Spiritual values determine our place in eternity. ”
Today, all of us, faithful to the UOC of the Kyiv Patriarchate, who make up the Vicariate in the United States and Canada, congratulate our Primate on significant dates in his life - the 60th anniversary of his ordination and the 55th anniversary of the Kyiv Department. They say that old age is a gift from heaven, because not everyone has a chance to live such a respectable period of life. We wish His Holiness Patriarch Philaret to always be in the love of Christ that we hear about during these Easter days.
What kind of love is this? It is love, the beginning of which is in God, who lives in God's Son Jesus, and through him reaches us, his creatures. Jesus says, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you." The love that Jesus gives us is the same as the Father loves him: pure, unconditional, selfless love. You can't buy it, it's free. By giving it to us, Jesus treats us as friends, letting us know the Father, involving us in His own mission for the life of the world.
How to be in this love? Jesus says, "If you keep my commandments, you will be in my love." He summed up these commandments in one: "That ye love one another as I have loved you." To love as Jesus Christ loves means to surrender to the service of brothers and sisters as He did, washing the disciples' feet. It also means to come out of introversion, to break away from one's own human resources, from the worldly conveniences that would open up to others, especially the most needy.
May being in the love of the Lord lead you, Your Holiness, to the constant joy that comes from knowing that God loves us in spite of our weaknesses, that He helps us to overcome life's trials, to go through crises to get out of them better. .
In order to live this joy, our task is to be true witnesses of Christ, because joy is a characteristic feature of a true Christian. A true Christian is not sad, he always carries this joy, even in bad times.
May the grace of the Holy Spirit help you, our Patriarch, to remain in the love of Christ and to grow in love for all, bearing witness to the joy of the risen Lord.
From all the faithful of the Vicariate of the UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and Canada, we congratulate you, Your Holiness, on the 60th anniversary of your ordination and the 55th anniversary of your stay at the Kyiv Department. Our unchanging Light, continue to be a pillar and affirmation of the truth to strengthen the Ukrainian nation in the 21st century, setting an example of resilience and loyalty to the end.
Mnohiyi lita Your Holiness.
Είς πολλά έτη, δέσποτα.
In prayerful union with Your Holiness
Secretary of the Vicariate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Of the Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and Canada. Archpriest Bohdan Zhoba together with all the Orthodox people of the American continent