“Our hope in a better future will come true only when we will be able to protect individual freedom as God’s gift, fulfilling the Law of the Lord”, said patriarch Lubomyr Husar, primate of the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine (UCCC), in his speech to the faithful on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of State sovereignty in the Country, celebrated past July 17. On the same day the auxiliary bishop of the archeparchy of Kiev , Joseph Milyan, celebrated a solemn liturgy in the Church of the Holy Mother of God. Patriarch Husar recited a blessing “for the Ukrainian people in united and independent Ukraine” in response to a specific request of the central Committee for nationalities and religions, “to celebrate the recurrence with a moment of prayer”.Responsible for our homeland. In recalling that according to the Holy Scriptures “the blessings bestowed upon us by the Lord correspond to our efforts to fulfil His will”, Cardinal Husar said: “We will enjoy authentic freedom provided that we adamantly comply with God’s will. Thus we are the only ones responsible for our future: “We’ve grown used to perceiving the concept of sovereignty only as the political feature of an independent State – the patriarch continued -. However, in analysing the history of our people and the tormented historical events, its meaning should be expanded”. In its essence “sovereignty indicates a condition of the soul that is manifested in the awareness of its own dignity, in the understanding and enhancement of its own history, culture and language, in the responsibility towards its homeland and the willingness to protect it”.Looking at the future with hope. With reference to the request of celebrating July 17 with a moment of prayer, presented by the central committee for nationalities and religious on behalf of the Minister Cabinet to the Churches and religious organizations, Cardinal Husar said: “It is very important, since this public event extended from the secular sphere to encompass also the religious sphere along with our people’s long-lasting spiritual identity formation whilst enabling us be hopeful about the future”. The UGCC primate thus recalled “other important national holidays” in the summer: the commemoration of the saints Volodymyr and Olha in July, and those of saints Boris and Hlib in August, “and according to the ancient tradition, the baptism of our ancestors”. “These events bring us back to the great era of the Rus’ of Kiev (the monarchic State of the Middle Ages of the Rjurik dynasty that ruled in areas of the current territories of Ukarine, Western Russia, Belarus, Poland, and Eastern Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia of which Kiev was the capital for many years, ed.’s note)” or to “twenty centuries ago, when Saint Clement I Pope and Martyr preached Gospel proclamation on our land”. This “long chain of events contributed to the formation of our spiritual identity until today”. For this reason, the Patriarch concluded, also recurrences like the Days of the Constitution and Independence, also celebrated in the summer months, “must not be considered as exclusively political events only but also moments of spiritual reflection and authentic prayer”.Kneeling before God. “Being faithful to high ideals starts from being faithful to ourselves, to our marriage, our parents and out homeland. But mostly, the foundations consist in being faithful to God, whose absence cause great ideals to remain no more than bombastic declarations” warned bishop Joseph Milyan in the homily for the solemn celebration of July 17 in Kiev. “On several occasions it was claimed that Ukraine will not stand on its feet unless we kneel to God before – the prelate recalled – but were we really prepared to do so, or was it only a declaration?” On July 20 Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, concluded his visit to Ukraine. His Eminence met with Cardinal Husar and the archbishop Lviv of the Latins, Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki. During the visit Cardinal Bagnasco stopped in Pochaev (whose name is linked to the miraculous icon of the Mother of God), Ternopil’ and Zarvanytsia, where a renowned Marian sanctuary is located. Here His Eminence met with the bishop of Ternopil-Zboriv, Vasyl Semeniuk, and attended a procession with eighty thousand pilgrims from all over the Country. The CEI president concluded his trip with a visit to Kiev where he had a meeting with Metropolitan Vladimir. On July 21 the Orthodox patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill started his visit to Ukraine, which will conclude on July 28, the day of the Commemoration of the baptism of prince Vladimir in 988 and the conversion to Christianity of the Rus’ of Kiev.
Card. Husar for the 20th anniversary of State sovereignty