UGCC Head: “It is very important to delve into the wisdom left for us by Basil the Great – to discover in ourselves the high dignity of a Christian”

Saturday, 18 January 2014, 21:45
The Church does not participate in competing for government positions or in political battles, because those who get power come and leave, political parties are born and disappear, but Christ’s Church will last until the end of the world.

On January 14th, the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Feast of Saint Basil the Great, the Father and the Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) talked about this in his sermon during the Pontifical Liturgy in the Cathedral of Basil the Great in Kyiv.  The Cathedral of St. Basil the Great was celebrating its 13th anniversary.  

In his sermon the UGCC Prelate focused his attention on the figure of St. Basil the Great, a renowned priest and teacher of the Church, as well as on the ritual of the circumcision of the Infant Jesus Christ.

“Today we look at the Infant Jesus who is eight days old.  According to the ruling tradition He is brought to the Archpriest so that the ritual of circumcision can be done and He will be given a name.  The eight-day old Savior is for us today a profound sign of the presence of the eternal in the present…  We read in the book of the Old Testament that the Lord created the world in six days, and that He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, all that passes is included in the terms of a seven day week, and the eight day opens a new perspective.  It is as if a sign of the presence of eternity.  And the event of the circumcision is in itself a remnant of the great discovery which in his time Patriarch Abraham left to his successors… Circumcision was a sign that people know to whom they belong and where Eternal God is.  And God’s Commandment is the road to eternity,” explained the preacher.

In mentioning the figure of Saint Basil the Great, the Prelate noted that his whole life was dedicated to a single search – the search for eternity, the search for God. 

The hierarch remembered the narration of a colleague and a friend of Basil the Great, Saint Gregory Naziyansky, who said that Saint Basil considered the title of a Christian as the most honorable, because a Christian found that which is the richest and the wisest.

 “Through Baptism, whose precursor was the Old Testament circumcision, the Christian becomes a participant in the eternal life, which begins at the moment of Baptism, and becomes totally fulfilled when we meet with our Lord eye to eye,” stated the UGCC Prelate.

In talking about the everyday, His Beatitude Sviatoslav urges people in contemporary social and political situations to discern what is transitory and what is eternal, towards what one should strive and adapt as a foundation of one’s life and the future.  It is exactly Christ’s Church, he contends, which is the bearer of the eternal in the temporary world!  The Church has that word about which Christ states: “Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words will not pass.”

 “The Church, with the help of the service of all those who are called to carry on the word of eternity and discover for our contemporaries the way to salvation, does not partake in competitions for authority or in political battles, because the authorities come and go, political parties are born and disappear but Christ’s Church will last until the end of the world.  Thus it is very important for us to delve into the wisdom which was left for us by Saint Basil – to discover in ourselves the high dignity of a Christian.  Not only not to be ashamed to be Christian there where we are, but also to search for the truth of the Christian life, to be above all, an authentic Christian.  And to consider one’s Christian name the most honorable calling” stressed the Head of the Church. 

“May Our Holy Savior through the prayers of St. Basil the Great, help us in our present search and in leading a Christian life,” wished the preacher all the faithful and people of good will.


UGCC Department of Information




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