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Pastoral speech of Bishop Luke (Zhoba) to the intensified prayer for Ukraine

Russia's aggression against Ukraine has been going on for the eighth year in a row. The huge number of human losses suffered by our Motherland is estimated at more than tens of thousands of dead. More than 44,000 men and women of all ages, as well as children, lost their lives either on the battlefield defending Ukraine, either as doctors, volunteers or as civilians. We will not make up for such a loss of our best sons and daughters forever. However, it is up to us, the living, to give their sacrifice meaning and eternity in the memory of the people.

On December 20, the United States Department of State issued a statement "reminding US citizens that security conditions, including along Ukraine's borders in Russian-occupied Crimea and Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and could deteriorate rapidly." This alarming message cannot leave us, Ukrainians in the diaspora, indifferent. After all, each of us is zealously mourning the fate of our Motherland for all eight years of the war in eastern Ukraine, and each of us is hurting the wound inflicted by the criminal northern enemy under the leadership of the Kremlin vampire.

Due to the growing danger of a full-scale invasion of the Russian occupation army into the sovereign territory of Ukraine, I call on all Ukrainians in the diaspora to intensify their prayers to the Almighty God for peace for our country. May the Lord strengthen the Ukrainian army with courage and faith by virtue of the highest help to those who stand in the way of truth, who protect the weak and enslaved from robbers and scoundrels, who are ready to give their lives for everything he loves: his people, his land, his faith .

Let us remember that we are not alone in praying before God for the truth. In prayer, His Holiness Patriarch Philaret, the entire episcopate and all the faithful of the UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate in Ukraine unite with us. Remember, we are not alone. Defending the truth, we are on the same path as the world's leading democracies, millions of people of good will from different countries.

May our prayer, common and personal, be for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine who are suffering from hostile aggression, support and a sign of our closeness and solidarity with them in our common trial.

May the Lord bless Ukraine and preserve its people! May the Lord look upon her with His bright face and have mercy on her! May the Lord turn His face on her and give her peace!

December 23, 2021

+ Luke, Bishop of Philadelphia

Vicariate of the UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate in the USA and Canada

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