Ukraine Archbishop says "We traveled to these broken border villages and towns and really feel how Ukraine is fighting for its life."
Ukraine Head of the Catholic Eastern Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk's daily address from Ukraine:
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today is Thursday, June 16, 2022, and Ukraine is experiencing the 113th day of this full-scale, bloody war waged by Russia against the Ukrainian people.
Congratulations from Kharkiv. We stand here together with the bishops, the clergy, the laity, in particular the parishioners of our St. Nicholas Cathedral.
We thank the Lord God and the Ukrainian military for seeing the light of the new morning that has survived to this day. We know that our military as well as civilians have paid with their lives for us to be together for the last day today.
Yesterday we visited the city of Sumy, which is located at a distance of 20 kilometers from the Russian border. Sumy region has almost 500 kilometers of border with Russia. We toured these broken border villages and towns and really felt how Ukraine is fighting for its life. Ninety-five percent of Sumy region's fields have been sown - Ukraine has won the battle for the sowing campaign to feed its own children and the world with its bread.
But, unfortunately, the war continues. Kharkiv is also located almost 20 kilometers from the Russian border and, literally, 60 kilometers from here are active hostilities.
The city of Izyum is occupied. Not far from us are those areas of Luhansk region where there are very fierce battles for Severodonetsk and that part of Luhansk region, which is now under the control of the Ukrainian army.
Heavy, bloody battles are taking place along the entire front line, from Kharkiv in the north to Mykolayiv and Kherson in the south. But Ukraine stands. Ukraine is struggling.
And today we see each other not virtually, but live. I told our people that the greatest happiness is that today we can meet and shake hands. I thank my bishops for the service they perform here in Kharkiv.
We experience the consecration of the feast of the Holy Spirit and reflect daily on the gifts He has brought to the Church. Today I would like to reflect today on the special gift of the Holy Spirit called counsel.
This gift helps a person to distinguish spirits in the first place. For the Apostle John says, "Do not believe every spirit, but see that these spirits are of God." It is this gift of the Holy Spirit that teaches us to hear God, gives us the opportunity to feel His presence.
However, in practical, daily life, this gift teaches us to distinguish between good and evil. After all, as we know, since man has sinned, his ability to distinguish between good and evil is wounded. Every criminal wants to justify his crime by calling it good. However, for the modern man, who sometimes does not fully understand what good and evil are, this gift of the Holy Spirit is very important.
This gift of council is especially felt here in Kharkiv. Why? Because if someone wants to see the face of true good, let him look at the faces of these people who are in danger of death every day, but who, smiling, seek the face of God.
Today we pray for our spiritual teachers and fathers to have the gift of discerning vocations, the different gifts that people have from the Holy Spirit. Let us also pray for parents and educators to teach every Ukrainian today to distinguish between good and evil.
Unfortunately, the aggressor criminal is trying to justify his crimes. Trying to pass off murders, attacks for something good. However, this justification is unmasked in the light of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Today we ask: Holy Spirit, bless Ukraine! Holy Spirit, give us the gift of counsel so that no one will ever deceive us! Holy Spirit, teach us not just to distinguish between good and evil, but only to choose good and live according to what the Lord God gives us for our good. God bless Ukraine!
The blessing of the Lord be upon you, with His grace and love of man, always, now, and forever and ever. Amen.
Source: Official Youtube Channel of the UGCC Linked Above