«Seminary is a school of sainthood», - the Head of the UGCC at the completion of the school year in the Three Saints Kyiv Theology Seminary

Monday, 12 June 2017, 20:15
On the first Sunday after the Feast of Pentecost the Christ's Church celebrates the Holiday of All Saints. This is the holiday of those who since the beginning of human race received from the Lord our God the greatest, special and unique gift – they were filled with the sainthood of the Only Great God.

With such words began his preaching the Head and Father of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on June 11 at the Three Saints Kyiv Theology Seminary on the occasion of the end of the academic year there. Together with the Head of the UGCC celebrated the Liturgy the Bishop Bohdan (Dziurakh), administrator of the Patriarchal Curia of the UGCC.

The Major Archbishop of the UGCC is convinced that the brightest and the most visible sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit is  holiness, which can be seen in a human being and through him/her. In the Old Testament we can read about the order which the Lord gives to his chosen people: "Be holy for I am holy." "In the books of the Old Testament God's sanctity was believed to be completely separated from the human world. God's holiness was like his mightiness, his inaccessibility, his incomprehensibility as well as impossibility for a man to enter fully into God's life. Holy God for Israeli was a symbol of absolute otherness. He was not like anyone or anything we can see in the visible world. But the Lord our God chose for Himself a certain nation and made them holy; this means that those people ought to be different from other nations because they were to mirror all the actions of no one else but God Himself. It was a nation separated from others, nation which was supposed to be a witness, face of God in the distorted world." However, with the embodiment of the Son of God, even more, with the descent of the Holy Spirit on all people something different happened than what we read about in the books of the Old Testament. "Holy Spirit grants to a man that very sanctity which God lives by," he went on. "Separation between God and a person disappears. Holiness of God Himself begins revealing through a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit."

During the Divine Liturgy we hear a call, "Let us be attentive! Holy Gifts to Holy People!” What does it mean? "A priest at that moment begins to share, divide the Body of Christ in order to prepare people for the Holy Communion. Apparently, this calling is addressed to those who are saints already because they are sanctified, redeemed by the price of Blood of God's Son, received the gift of baptizing, the gift of chrismation and are called to become partakers of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, called to be partakers of His holiness. But, on the other hand, it's a big task for each of us to grow in that gift, since at the birth we are already individuals but all our life we must become Human Beings. Similarly in the spiritual Christian life we are blessed with the Holy Spirit through Holy Sacraments of Christ's Church. Every day we must grow in holiness, we must sanctify ourselves and the world in which we are living. Thus we will mirror in our lives the life of Great Holy God," called his Beatitude Sviatoslav.

Then the preacher addressed the seminarians, "Today we express our gratitude to the Lord our God for special community, special environment for blessing and action of the Holy Spirit, which is our Three Saints Kyiv Theology Seminary. One can say that our seminary is a school of sainthood. Everyone, who enters the seminary, is called to grow in sanctity. I have never seen a holy seminarian… but each seminarian is called to fight daily, grow in holiness daily which the Holy Spirit wants to grant you." As the Primate of the Church said,  when seminarians complete their studies in the seminary, they must not only to themselves but also to others show the route to sanctification. "Remember, in the ancient Greek culture the hero was the one who was fighting and even protecting the power of a man as opposed to that of Greek gods. So, when a Greek hero died, he wanted to prove the power and grandeur of a human being. And when martyrs died, the mighties of holiness of the Christ's Church, as the fruits of the Holy Spirit, by their lives and deaths they revealed the power of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, but not the power of creation. To grow in sanctity means to be ready to accept God's gift and learn from it, - stressed His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

According to him, seminary, as a school of holiness, is a place and space, community, where seminarians receive God's gifts, grow in them and become able to receive even bigger gifts from God. "I call on your parents. If your sons are not becoming better every year  – worry about them! It means then that somewhere someone didn't do their job to the end: either seminarians, or their spiritual directors, supervisors." Then the Head of the Church addressed the seminary graduates, "Although you finish your studies and receive diplomas, but you don't finish, and, possibly, only begin your route to holiness. Never close books and think that you learned everything and know everything about God and the Church! There are three principles for the growth of a priest and a seminarian: daily Liturgy and the Holy Communion, prayer, daily reading of the Holy Scripture."

"At the beginning of the Liturgy we blessed cassocks for the brothers who successfully completed the first course of their studies. Brothers, you have become different! All those, who will observe your spiritual outfit, will expect from you an example in the spiritual life. May this spiritual outfit which you received today become a part of your personality. May the merciful Lord make all of us holy! Let us grow in those gifts which He is giving us and we are receiving!» - said at the end of his homily His Beatitude Sviatoslav.


The UGCC Department of Information 


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