His Beatitude Sviatoslav during the reburial of Bishop Ivan (Marhitych): "Unity is the word of Bishop Ivan addressed to us"

Monday, 06 February 2017, 12:16
The Head and Father of the UGCC his Beatitude Sviatoslav took part in reburial of the remains of Bishop Ivan (Marhitych) known as the "people's Bishop" in the village of Borzhavske Vynohradivsky district, Zakarpatska obl. on February 4, 2017.

With the Head of the Church in the reburial took part: Bishop Milan, Bishop of Mukachevo Greek Catholic eparchy, Bishop Ihor (Voznyak), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Lviv, Bishop Volodymyr (Vijtyshyn), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Ivano-Frankivsk,  Bishop Vasyl (Sementuk), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Ternopil-Zboriv, Bishop Vasyl (Ivasyuk), eparch of Kolomyia - Chernivtsi, Bishop Josaphat (Hovera), exarch of Lutsk,  Bishop Josaphat (Moshchych),  auxiliary Bishop of Ivano-Frankivsk Archbishopric, Bishop Nil (Lushchak), auxiliary Bishop of Mukachevo Greek Catholic  eparchy.

The Bishops  were joined by over a hundred priests, among whom there were a lot of pupils of Bishop Ivan (Marhitych) and those who were born in Borzhavske.

A great number of laymen also arrived at the reburial.

Bishop Ivan (Marhitych) was buried in the church of the Veil of the Most Holy Mother of God, which was built on his initiative and thanks to his efforts.  Until now his body rested in the underground premises of the temple, but there appeared a problem with excessive humidity. So, after the repairs, in the temple under the sacrarium,  a special sarcophagus was made, where the remains of the Bishop will rest. 

In his homily to the faithful the Primate remarked: "All people have arrived all together at this village and this temple in order to venerate a great pastor of the Christ's church, who was an impeccable image of the only Pastor  – Christ; of the Bishop, who lived with these people, suffered with them and bore their wounds on his body. That is why people called him the "people's Bishop,"  said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

Speaking about the blessed memory Bishop Ivan as a prominent personality, the Head of the UGCC observed that from among the present Bishops, the figure of Bishop Ivan  is an example, a model for imitation.  "When  I was coming  here  and praying  and when now I am looking into your faces, when I see how many people today came up to receive Holy Communion, I see  some deeper sense in today's event. Yes, we arrived today to rebury the mortal remains of Bishop Ivan, but this Divine Liturgy, this presence of Bishops, clergymen and  people shows that it is indeed the day of glorifying the faithful servant of Christ, Bishop Ivan. It is true that today we are praying for the rest of his soul but in the deep of my heart I feel that we must ask him to pray for us, because we feel that, as Bishop Milan said, 'from the earthly throne he stood up before the Heavenly one,'" noted His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

"In my prayer I was asking: Bishop Ivan, what would you like to tell your people now? With what word today, when we came to you, would you speak to us? Looking at the decorations of this temple, recalling the life of Bishop Ivan, one single word came to my heart -  "unity".  Firstly, it's unity with God. For when a person is united with God, he allows the Good Shepherd Christ, Who gave him salvation and eternal life, to take him on His shoulders.  Secondly,  – it's unity with the Apostle Peter's successor. For it's that confession of faith, which during his life Bishop Ivan of blessed memory was tirelessly performing. Where is the Pope, there is true Church.  We heard it so many times both from our pastors and from Bishop Ivan. And further – the word about unity of Christ's Church in Ukraine, in particular, unity among the Greek Catholics in Ukraine. That unity, which is the earnest of power and glory, which the Bishop, whom we are solemnly paying respects today, was preaching."

Finally the Head of the Church thanked Bishop Milan for invitation to come to the reburial.

The UGCC Department of Information

Addition

 

Homily of His Beatitude Sviatoslav 04.02.2017 A. D. (vil. Borzhavske, Zakarpatska obl.)

 

Your Reverence Milan, most reverend and venerable fathers, dear brothers and sisters in monastics, venerable family of our Bishop Ivan of blessed memory, dear representatives of power, dear  brothers and sisters in Christ, who have so numerously gathered for today's holiday!

 Christ is born!

 

In the Holy Gospel our Savior Jesus said about himself the following words: "I am the Good Shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10, 11).

 

We can say that in those couple of words there is sort of heart of the whole Gospel, the whole Good News. That Good News is that the very God becomes our Shepherd. Our God takes on himself our pains, sufferings, burdens, mine and yours, everyone's. The very God, Who is interested in me, my personal life, Who is with me and in me.  And it is for the sake of everyone, in all times and all nations, to be able to feel personally this pastoral care of the very God towards him/her, Christ God grants priesthood to the God's people. Each priest, in particular Bishop, is a visible and active image of the highest Shepherd Christ the Lord. That Shepherd Who via Bishopric wants to touch each of us. Who wants us to be confident and testify with our own lives that the Lord our God is with us and cares about us, knows us, is concerned about our problems, and is our Pastor, through pastoral service of his servant.

That is why we, in fact, arrived today at your village, your temple so we could honor such a great pastor of Christ's church, who was a  perfect image of the Only Pastor  – Christ. Bishop, who lived with these people, suffered with them, bore their wounds on his body, and so the people called him the "people's Bishop."

I think that from all of us, Bishops, who are present here,  the personality of Bishop Ivan, is a model, example for imitation. Here every Bishop would like to be remembered by such a number of people and clergy after his death. And that our service would be recognized by people as the service of God Himself for them.

So today we couldn't help coming to this feast in order to thank the Lord our God for such a pastor that He had granted to His Church. 

But when I was coming here and praying with you, and when now I am looking into your faces, when I see how many people took the Holy Communion today, I see some deeper meaning in today's event.

Yes, we arrived now to rebury the mortal remains of Bishop Ivan, but this Divine Liturgy, this presence of bishopric, clergy and people shows that today is  the day of "glorifying" the faithful servant of Christ, Bishop Ivan. It is true that we are praying now that his soul rests in peace but also in the deep of my heart I feel that we must ask him to pray for us because we feel, as Bishop Milan put it "from the earthly throne he stood before the Heavenly One."

Today we are asking him: "Bishop Ivan, up there, before the Face of God, pray for us, Bishops, priests, our whole Church, so it will be "people's" indeed, which at such a difficult time as this, not just lives the life of that nation and is concerned with its grief but is a means of its eternal salvation.

 

Therefore today it's very important to have a closer look at this event, which we are honoring. Let us all, experts, canonists of this eparchy, who understand what the ecclesiastical glorifying of a person means, have a closer look at today's event.

I was asking Bishop Ivan before the altar today: "Your Reverence, what would you like to say to your people? Which word would you like to say to us today, when we came to you?"

Looking at the paintings in this temple, recalling the earthly way of Bishop Ivan, one single word came to my heart – "unity."

 

Firstly, it's unity with God. Because when a person unites with God  – he lets that Shepherd Christ, Who gave him salvation and eternal life, take him on His shoulders.

 

Secondly – unity with Successor of Apostle Peter. For it's that confession of faith, which Bishop Ivan of blessed memory was performing all his life. Where there is Pope, there is true Church. We heard it so many times from our pastors and from Bishop Ivan.

And further – the word about the unity of Christ's church in Ukraine, especially among Greek Catholics. That unity, which is the earnest of power and glory, was preached by the Bishop, whom we are so solemnly honoring today.

I would like to thank Bishop Milan for invitation sent to me and our Bishops.

 

And today, answering Bishop Ivan regarding this word of "unity", I would like to  tell you, Bishop Milan, you, dear  fathers, brothers and sisters in monastics, and you, dear faithful, that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is with you! As it always was, in particular, at the most difficult times of  atheistic persecution. We are together and this is the unity which is so clearly spoken out by Bishop Ivan, who is present here among us.

That's why we say: "Your Reverence, we are going to be united! We are uniting with the Lord our God, with the Holy Father and with our brothers and sisters of the united Church and only faith in Ukraine.

Bishop Ivan, we know that you are here, among us. We know that you hear us. Pray for your people, for your Church, before the Throne of the Almighty! Amen.

 

 

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