UOC Bishop: We are safe as long as we unite with Christ around Chalice
The Eucharist is an epicenter of Christian life, and if this foundation of the Church is shaken, the question arises if it remains the Church, said Bp. Victor (Kotsaba).
As long as Divine Liturgy is celebrated, as long as we unite with Christ around the Cup, the Lord will keep us safe. This was told by the Head of the Representation of the UOC to European International Organizations, Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolitanate, Bishop Victor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka, in a conversation with the famous Ukrainian surgeon and deacon of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Rostislav Valikhnovsky, dedicated to the problem of the coronavirus pandemic. The conversation was broadcast live on Rostislav Valikhnovsky's Facebook page.
The hierarch noted that today the world is facing a great challenge that drives many people into panic, but "we, the people of faith, always lay all our hopes on God."
"The Lord is our strength and in Him we can overcome all trials and tribulations," he said. The Church has always called to prayer, to unity in God, to mutual support in every possible way in all difficult times of its existence. And today the UOC is side by side with its Ukrainian people. <...> we urge everyone to ensure that all sanitary standards be observed. But above all, the Church calls for prayer so that we could defeat this virus and the difficulties that await us in connection with today's plight.”
According to the hierarch, in some countries there are restrictions on divine services because of the coronavirus and decisions are made to close temples, which "is tragic for us, but we understand that if there is such a threat, we must be careful about everything recommended to us and follow all the necessary safeguards.
Bishop Victor emphasized the importance of the Divine Liturgy and the Holy Eucharist in the current circumstances.
"Man changes under the influence of different factors, first and foremost, time, since everything moves and develops so quickly. Still, Christ does not change and remains always the same forever," he said. “Unity with Christ, which is only possible in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the epicenter of all Christian life, is always the same. The Holy Eucharist is a pillar of the Church, and if that foundation is destroyed, then many questions will arise – whether the Church remains the Church or whether it turns into another organization. As long as there is Divine Liturgy, as long as we are united with Christ around the Communion Cup, the Lord will keep us safe.”
According to the Bishop, we don't know today what kind of losses the current situation will inflict on us or what other trials await us, but "if we keep peace in our souls, if we try to have direct communion with God and feel God's presence in our lives, then the Lord will guide us through the current difficulties and, perhaps, some future tribulations we might have to withstand. That is our hope, our strength, our trust in the Lord that He will take our lives into His hands, that He will lead us along the narrow path to eternity, to His Heavenly Kingdom.”
It is clear that society will come out of this ordeal to become different, the hierarch emphasized, "and may God enable us to evaluate correctly our whole life again, reveal faults in our lives, correct them and become better, even a little. If we become a little better, we will bring along the good and so there will be less evil.
As reported by the UOJ, earlier Bishop Victor of Baryshevka said that the coronavirus should not alienate us from the love for God.