Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Saturday, February 26, and the sun is rising over Kyiv, over Ukrainian Kyiv, over Kyiv that is triumphing, over Kyiv that has survived another night, a night blessed by God.
Allow me to address all of you with a word of greeting, a word of blessing, and a word of thanks.
First of all, allow me to pass on to you the words of greeting and support from the Holy Father, Francis, who called me himself yesterday in order to express his support. He said literally the following words: “Farò tutto che é possibile.” (I will do everything possible.) Of course, to stop the war, so that innocent people do not die, so that Ukraine has the opportunity to develop freely. I would like every to be thankful to the Holy Father, because the whole global community is mobilizing itself in our support.
I would like to thank everyone today who in the last few days have sent me letters of support and solidarity with Ukraine, with the Ukrainian people, and with our Church.
I would like to thank the Bishops’ Conference of Europe and its president, the archbishop of Vilinius, archbishop Gintaras Grušas, as well as the bishops of Poland, Germany, France, England, Italy, USA, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, but it was particularly pleasant for me to receive a letter from the all the Catholic bishops of Kazakhstan expressing their support for our Ukraine and expressing their unity with our people in prayer.
To all those who are supporting Ukraine in various ways, in the name of our people, in the name of our state, in the name of besieged Kyiv, in whose streets battles are taking place, let me say a sincere “thank you.”
They say that when artillery speaks, muses are silent. Let the muses remain silent, but we Christians, we people, have no right to be silent.
In these moments when blood is being poured out on the land of Ukraine, when the words of Patriarch Joseph are being repeated, mountains of bodies and rivers of blood, in our cities and all the shores of the Dnipro river, from the borders with Belarus, to the shores of the Black Sea, no one has the right to be silent, because with a word, lives can be saved. But silence can kill.
I ask all those who heard our voice from Kyiv flowing with blood: fight for peace. Intercede for those who require your aid. Do everything so that the aggressor retreat and leave the land of Ukraine. Whoever you may be, whether you are leaders in parliament, politicians, military personnel or church leaders, do you work, say your word to support Ukraine.
I would particularly like to thank His All Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew, who expressed his concern for my personal wellbeing here in Kyiv and shared his brotherly support and prayer. We see that in the face of death, in the face of brutal military force, every church schism and division falls, and we all unite in the name of God and the good of the person.
I want to thank all our bishops, especially those who are in Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Odesa, all our priests who are in besieged cities and serve the Ukrainian people, who open their homes, who open their churches, their cellars, to all our monastic communities, to our seminaries, who open their buildings and residences to all those in need today.
I also would like to thank all our brothers and sisters, all our faithful, our bishops, our monastics, on the territory of Western and Central Ukraine. Today there are tens of hundreds of thousands of refugees moving in your direction. Accept them in the name of Christ, as emissaries of God. “He who accepts you accepts me,” said the Lord to His Apostles. In the name of God, receive those who knock at the door of your homes.
In this dramatic but heroic time, let us continue to pray.
Today, on this Saturday, we celebrate the Universal Commemoration of the Dead, and we especially pray for our soldiers who gave their lives for Ukraine, especially in these last days. We embrace in prayer the border guards of Snake Island in the Black Sea, our hero who with the price of his own life stopped Russian armies at Kherson by blowing up with himself a bridge across the Dnipro. Today the Ukrainian land and Ukrainian people are giving birth to many such heroes.
We pray for all those who gave their lives for Ukraine. We pray for the innocent victims among the civilian population: women, children, the elderly. Today we commend to God’s hands all those who have already departed this world and ask that the Lor receive them in His embrace.
Ukraine is conquering. Ukraine is fighting. But we ask the world today to be in solidarity with us and not to remain silent, because the word saves, the word builds peace. Silence and indifference kill.
From our golden-domed, holy city of Kyiv, the new Jerusalem, with my whole heart, I impart to you my blessing, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ!