UOC Hierarch: Coronavirus is a patriotism test

Vicar of the Kiev Metropolitanate, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka. Photo: Facebook

Bishop Victor believes that very often selfishness and the desire to protect oneself personally prevail not only over patriotic but also over universal human values.

On February 20, 2020, the vicar of the Kiev Metropolis, Bishop Victor of Baryshevka, in his author’s blog on the pages of “I-Korrespondent” online publication, said that the aggressive reaction of some Ukrainians to the evacuation of our citizens from China has nothing to do with patriotism or Christianity.

Vladyka recalled that for the past six years we have been living under constant calls for patriotism and the need for unity of the country. However, "at the same time, many of us did not even try to think about what these words really mean."

According to Bishop Victor, “patriotism is not singing a hymn or wearing an embroidered shirt. It is not even a language or national traditions. This is love for one's homeland.”

“The Greek term ‘πατρίς’ means ‘homeland’, while the word ‘πατριώτης’ refers to a compatriot. Thus, to be a patriot means to love your homeland and your compatriots. From the point of view of Christianity, this social feeling is enhanced by a moral attitude – to love God and your neighbor,” the hierarch explained.

He emphasized that “a healthy, normal vision of patriotism among Christians is manifested by the fact that a Christian ranks the public good above his personal one, that the interests of the Church, country, people and family (as a small Church) prevail over egocentrism and one’s own interests. The Christian no longer lives for himself; he lives for God and his neighbor."

At the same time, says the hierarch, “today we too often witness how selfishness and the desire to protect ourselves personally prevail not only over patriotic but also over universal human values.”

According to him, "it is obvious that the reaction of a certain part of Ukrainian society to the evacuation of our fellow citizens from China is completely unhealthy."

“Instead of providing them with a comfortable stay in the fourteen-day quarantine facility, people who undoubtedly consider themselves patriots take to the streets, block the movement of vehicles and create public social tension. Such actions cause only pain and distress!”, the hierarch said.

Bishop Victor expressed the hope that all those features that have been inherent in our people for centuries – “mercy, sensitivity to other’s grief, the ability to empathize and help one’s neighbor” will be manifested in Ukrainians and urged to take an example from saints who “would find the inner strength to think not only about themselves if they were in a similar situation.”

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that in the opinion of Bishop Victor, the idea in which the interests of the nation are placed above God and His Church is destructive at its core.

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