“We, priests, have to be next to those who weep and to bring them hope,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav on Maundy Thursday

Friday, 18 April 2014, 09:06
How should we, as a clergy, today serve Christ – where and how? There where people who suffer exist! We have to be next to those who weep and we have to bring them hope. We have to be next to those who are in despair in order to console them.

This is what it means today to wash the feet of our faithful: to cleanse their souls and bodies.  With the hand of the pastor, we are to lead them to the Sacrament of Christ’s Death and Resurrection.


His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, stated this on Maundy Thursday, April 17th, in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Christ’s Resurrection in Kyiv.


UGCC Prelate noted that “on this day we discover for ourselves and see in the liturgical signs that Jesus Christ is the Highest Hierarch.”  Our Hierarch takes upon Himself the experiences of all of humankind and therefore, all of us.  He is crucified together with Ukraine, which is being torn apart,” states His Beatitude Sviatoslav.


According to the words of the Major Archbishop, Jesus Christ today presents Himself as the one who serves.  “Today, Jesus Christ has already washed our feet so many times and has said to us:  “if you do likewise, you will be happy,”  emphasized the Prelate of the Greek-Catholics.  He reminded all that exactly on this day, the trial of Jesus Christ took place.  UGCC Head made a parallel, noting: “How interesting, that it is exactly today that the rulers of the world have gathered as a foursome in Geneva in order to discuss about us and you, about our fate, our present and our future.”


In addressing the clergy, the hierarch stressed that being a priest does not mean only standing at the altar, but also “serving there, where Christ is present in the suffering person of our times.”  “This is what we are called upon to do.  Then we truly will walk step by step together with Christ, because it is not the crucifixion, nor the sentence, nor death that is the pinnacle.  The last word is not about violence, and not about sin.  The final word is on the side of Truth, about God’s power, and about life in the Resurrection,” emphasizes the Head of the Church.


 At the end, His Beatitude Sviatoslav greeted the priests on their celebratory day.  It was on this particular day that Christ established the two sacraments: the Eucharist and the Priesthood. “Dear priests, serve totally as the servants of Christ’s Church of the Resurrected Body of Christ.  Let us confidently follow Christ through His Way of the Cross towards the Resurrection, because when you do this, you shall be happy,” concluded the UGCC Prelate.


It is noteworthy that on Maundy Thursday, during the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, blessed the antiminsa and myrrh, and in conclusion performed that Act of Washing of the Feet. Twelve priests, representing all UGCC eparchies and exarchates:  from eastern, southern, northern, western, and central Ukraine, had their feet washed.


UGCC Department of Information

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