Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Greetings from the capital of free Ukraine, the first-throned City of Kyiv.
Today we are experiencing the seventh day of war. On this day, 2 March 2022, at the call of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, the whole world unites in prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine.
Today is a special day for all of us because we feel that in our misery we are not alone. However, the war continues. Last night they bombarded our Zhytomyr, they continued to shoot at our cities and villages. We are particularly worried about Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, Kherson, and other Ukrainian cities that are under siege, where today there is a great shortage of food and medicine. Today it is necessary to rescue the local population.
But today we unite in prayer. What does it mean to unite in prayer? In the last few days, we heard that only when we are united and unified, we will be strong and able to withstand this war. “In unity the strength of the people, God grant us unity,” says a national hymn. But unity in prayer is something deeper. To unite in prayer means to exchange life. It means to share one’s own life force with one’s neighbour. To give one’s own life force to one’s neighbour, and thus to become stronger through the force of life that I receive with the one who unites in prayer.
In these days, we received so many letters from all over the world with the assurance that “we are with you,” to unite in prayer and to unite in the name of peace, so that the life we live stand firm against death.
An example of such unity in prayer are the words of Christ to the Father, “all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours and Mine” [John 17:9–10]. Today we need so much that mutual strengthening, because this strength, this unity, is none other than the power and activity of the Holy Spirit.
Uniting in prayer, uniting in our inner spiritual life with the world, we become conscious of being sons and daughters of the one Church of Christ, the Body of Christ, whose Head is Christ Himself.
Today we pray and fast together. Fasting means breaking all that divides us, all that hinders me from sharing my life with others. That is why this fast is so important: to cast out the one who divides, the Devil, the spirit of war, the spirit of death.
I invite all of you today to a communal prayer service that will begin at 14:00 Kyiv time from Pokotylivka, near Kharkiv. Thereafter it will include Odesa, it will include our Drohobych, the famous Hrushiv, Zarvanytsia, our Hoshiv, our Univ, and will conclude here in Kyiv.
O God, receive our fasting and prayer! O God, unite us all! May life conquer death, and may the common prayer of the whole world bring peace to Ukraine. May the blessing of the Lord be upon you, through His grace and love for humankind, always, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.