Video-message of His Beatitude Sviatoslav. May 2nd. 68th day of war

Christ is Risen!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

Today is 2 May 2022 and our homeland, our people are already experiencing 68 days of this terrible war.

Ukraine is fighting! Ukraine is bleeding! But Ukraine is overcoming!

During the last day and the last night, fierce battles have been fought in our lands. From what we can hear, from the information provided by the Ukrainian army and the Ukrainian state, the enemy continues the offensive almost on the entire front in the Donbas, in particular in the Donetsk region. The city of Kharkiv is constantly under fire. Missile attacks continue in various cities and villages of Ukraine, in particular in the east and south of our country.

But despite this great military pressure, our people are really finding the strength to resist this enemy. Because we feel that we are morally stronger. We are defending our land. And those who, in fact, fight for the truth, for peace always have the advantage, even over an enemy that may be more numerous and perhaps he has more human weapons.

This week we are still experiencing liturgically the event of the meeting of the frightened disciples with the risen Christ Who comes to them. And we, praying for peace in Ukraine, hear words from the Saviour Himself about giving peace to His disciples. He says, “Peace be with you!”

Today, I want to reflect with you on the Beatitudes of the Gospel that speak of this peace of Christ. Christ says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Today we hear a lot about peacekeepers. But what kind of peacekeeping are we talking about? We sometimes think today that a peacemaker is one who seeks compromise and that peace is just such an agreement about not attacking or making a compromise in one form or another. When someone defends an objective truth, he is sometimes considered dangerous to the world. Because he may disagree, he might not compromise with the positions of other interlocutors, or perhaps those who want to negotiate at all costs.

But what kind of peacemakers is Christ telling us about, and what does this Gospel Beatitude tell us?

We see that the peace that Christ gives is not a peace of compromise. This is not the peace of human reasoning and agreements. The peace—shalom—that Jesus Christ gives to His disciples is synonymous with fullness. The fullness of life. The fullness of truth. The fullness to which man is called, believing in the risen Christ. About Jesus Himself, the Apostle Paul tells us: “For in Him all the fullness of deity dwells bodily, and in Him Who is the head of all principality and power, you are made full” (Colossians 2:9–10).  Moreover, by receiving from Christ His heavenly and God-given peace, we become bearers of that fullness. Therefore, the next gesture after this greeting is the gesture of giving peace. Christ breathed the Holy Spirit on the apostles and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:22–23). And so, a true peacemaker, a peacemaker who lives in blessedness is a man who is reconciled to God and carries the peace of Christ in himself, which surpasses all understanding, all human calculations. And that is why they are a son of God. They will be called a son of God after receiving that adoption, as a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Today in Ukraine we pray so much for peace. But we understand that it is impossible to compromise with the devil, to compromise with evil. Because this compromise steals the true peace of Christ. We want to be the bearers of this peace of Christ. And we want to be peacekeepers so that in Christ all people may be reconciled to one another, and thus to the Lord God.

At the end of each of our conversations, we always share Christ’s blessing. We often ask for blessings from a priest or a bishop. But what exactly is this blessing? It is precisely the blessing that the Church brings from that Upper Room in Jerusalem, from that very first encounter with the risen Christ, which is the peace of Christ. It is this Holy Spirit Who rests on the community of the apostles. By blessing God’s people, the bishops and priests pass on the breath of the Holy Spirit that the Twelve Apostles then received from their risen Teacher. It is precisely this Spirit that is peacemaking. It is the Spirit that makes us peacemakers.

Receive this blessing of God from the risen Saviour.

May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love for mankind, now and always, and for ages of ages. Amen.

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!