A Doxology was performed on Wednesday, December 15, at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kyiv, for the third anniversary of the Unification Synod of 2018.
The Doxology was attended by the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bishop Michael of Komana, as well as Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, who was the Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Ukraine during the Unification Synod.
During the Doxology words of gratitude were heard to the Lord for the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine, which was established three years ago and millions of Ukrainians have been waiting for.
In his message for the anniversary of the Unification Synod and his election as Metropolitan of Kyiv and all of Ukraine (15-12-2018), Patriarch Epifaniy stressed the following:
“Three years have passed since the Unification Synod, which united the three currents of the once divided Ukrainian Orthodoxy into a single strong and unrestrained current. The only local Orthodox Church in Ukraine has been established and continues to grow, accepting new communities and members in its family.
Is it possible to list all the achievements of the Ukrainian Church all these years? Ten publications will not be enough. After all, the Church is not just a few dozen bishops headed by the Primate. They are not just a few thousand clergy. The Orthodox Church of Ukraine exists only through and thanks to the unity of many millions of the clergy and the faithful. It was our unity and faith that helped the Ukrainian Church to assert itself against the encroachments and interventions of those who have been annoyed by our independence. The independence gained through centuries of struggle and exile and therefore particularly valuable.
Thanks to its historic path, the Ukrainian people are well aware of all the difficulties of the liberation struggle and the establishment of independence. Prolonged stay “under oppression”, physical, spiritual or cultural occupation leads to the fact that the nation, its culture, and spirituality are either assimilated or developed “oppositely”, so far from the dominant, imposed worldview. Both ways are harmful! After all, in the first case, the nation loses itself. And in the second – it develops into unconditional dependence on the “enemy” and becomes incapable of existing independently, building the very meaning of its existence on the basis of “not being what the enemy is”.
And, perhaps, one of the greatest achievements of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, one of the main confirmations of its formation during these three years was the formation of its own face – the face of a single and independent Church of the Ukrainian people.
Our Church is from the people and with the people. In cities and small villages, in temples and online service broadcasts, in trenches in the East and near hospital beds, in the application “My Church” for mobile phones on the phones of many believers, in Independence Square with the needy, in shelters for victims of violence and in HIV prevention training courses.
Our Church preserves its history and traditions and accepts the challenges of the present. We dispel the myths about the Orthodox faith, keep notes on the internet, communicate with the faithful on social media, and at the same time stand on a solid foundation – faith in the Lord and love that unites us in a Church.
Our Church is autocephalous, recognized, 15th in the Diptychs of the Orthodox Churches. We Ukrainians are well aware of the price of independence – or rather its invaluable value – and therefore treat it with particular reverence. In the summer of the 30th anniversary of the restoration of Ukraine’s independence, we had the opportunity to celebrate with the man who led to the universal declaration of independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine- Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Three years ago, the Unification Synod became an important milestone in the formation of the local Orthodox Church of Ukraine. But after planting a tree, we cannot leave it to chance. We must cultivate it, water it, protect it from pests and inoculate it to have good fruits every year.
“You should know that whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”(2 Cor. 9: 6-8)”.