Metropolitan Onuphry congratulates soldiers on Ukraine’s Defenders Day

01 October 18:32
Metropolitan Onuphry anointing an AFU soldier with holy oil. Photo: Metropolitan Onuphry anointing an AFU soldier with holy oil. Photo:

His Beatitude noted that during the current war unleashed by the Russian authorities, the Church is with her people and army.

On October 1, 2023, the Primate of the UOC, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, congratulated the AFU servicemen on the Day of Defenders of Ukraine, reports the UOC Information and Education Department.

His Beatitude emphasized that "recent events show that respect for Ukraine's defenders now occurs not only on a special date in the calendar but every day when we pray for all those who selflessly defend our state from a treacherous enemy."

"Our defenders, among whom there is a significant number of believers of our Church, stand in defence of one of the most precious gifts given to man by the Lord – the gift of freedom," Metropolitan Onuphry noted.

He reminded the flock that throughout history, the Church has always been with its people and the military, and the current realities of a treacherous war unleashed by Russian authorities are no exception.

"Today, we pray for God's patronage and the Intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos over all our defenders, for the gift of spiritual strength and physical endurance, good health, and strength in bearing the sacrificial feat for the sake of protecting the entire Ukrainian people," the Primate of the UOC said.

According to His Beatitude, "The greatest driving force in the world is love, and we are witnesses to the sacrificial love of our defenders for their country, their loved ones, for whom they risk their lives every day."

On the other hand, Metropolitan Onuphry continued, "Love, mutual respect, and solidarity should also exist within the nation defending their Homeland. This is what the great righteous ruler of the ancient Kyivan state, Prince Yaroslav the Wise, teaches us: 'If you live in love, God will be with you and give you victory over your enemies!'"

He noted that "no less important today are our prayers for the deceased defenders who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Ukraine and its citizens".

"We pray that the merciful Lord may repose them in the abodes where there is no sorrow, illness, or sighing," he wrote.

"In these difficult times for Ukraine and its people, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as an integral part of our nation does not stand aside but is constantly with Ukrainian defenders in fervent prayer, spiritual support, volunteer activities and humanitarian missions," stressed His Beatitude.

"We thank God for His mercy and thank you, dear servicemen and servicewomen. You courageously defend our Homeland and every second sacrifice yourselves for the preservation of its independence, freedom, and the achievement of a just peace for our people," wrote Metropolitan Onuphry.

He wished Ukraine's defenders that the Lord, who blesses His people with peace, would grant them His strength and power every day of their sacrificial service in defence and restoration of the territorial integrity of our Homeland.

As reported, His Beatitude officiated at the liturgy in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

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