“Your Resurrection, O Christ our Saviour, the angels in heaven praise with hymns;
make us, on earth, also worthy with a pure heart to extol and give glory to You”
(Sticheron of the Resurrection Matins)
Christ is Risen!
Beloved in Christ!
These are the words of the Resurrection Sticheron we sing every year when we go around the church three times before Paschal Matins. At this time, our hearts are filled with incredible joy, which is felt especially in the services of Holy Pascha. Every person’s life is a journey to the Kingdom of Heaven, which the Risen Christ reveals to us. However, in this journey there are various trials that we experience along the way.
For the past two years, we have been experiencing a coronavirus pandemic that has caused various limitations, both private and public, and which has drastically affected all of us as individuals and as a society. For many of us we have experienced this for the first time in our lives, and none of us were ready for it. Christians around the world have experienced spiritual hunger, loneliness, lack of fellowship, and uncertainty about the future. This has affected all of us in one way or another. As a result, people became afraid of one other and completely isolated from public life. It seemed to all of us that we had gone through a difficult phase of our lives, but we were wrong.
Today we are going through the most difficult period in the recent history of Ukraine and the Church, as the war has come to our native land in one of its worst manifestation. In response to this challenge, Christians around the world have united in prayer for peace and opened their hearts to the suffering of our people. Since the beginning of the full-scale aggression, our Eparchy has received words of sympathy from the Catholic Church in Australia, as well as from all other faiths, government officials, and people of good will. All our parishes have become more active in spiritual support and charity for their brothers and sisters. Every Friday we pray together and fast for peace and calm in Ukraine. Together we are trying to make every effort to end the war in our homeland.
Christ’s Resurrection is the fulfillment of our hope, the light in the darkness, the signpost to those in doubt, and the sign of the victory of good over evil. We need to remember that on our way to the Resurrection we are not alone; Christ goes with us, He reveals Himself to us in the Holy Mysteries, supporting us with His Body and Blood, providing protection and shelter for us in the Church. This is the key to our salvation.
Although we are far from Ukraine in Australia, we are close to it in heart and mind. We are all worried about the war and we are doing those things which lie within our power to undertake for the benefit of our poor brethren in Ukraine. In this time of trial, today we need to witness the Resurrection of Christ more than ever. At a time when the apostles doubted and were persecuted by the Jews, the myrrh-bearing women were the first to preach the Risen Christ. Therefore, the task of modern Christians is to become true witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection, despite all the difficulties and hardships we experience in life.
This message has been given on the day when the Holy Father, Pope Francis performs the act of consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When the Russian invasion began, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from all over the world, as well as the entire Catholic Church, began to pray in a special way to the Virgin Mary to fulfill the words bequeathed by the Blessed Virgin Mary during her apparitions in Fatima, Portugal on 1917. May this prayer of consecration be heard before the Throne of the Most High.
I sincerely greet the clergy, the religious and all the faithful on the occasion of the Resurrection of Christ, wishing you a blessed Easter.
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
+ MYKOLA BYCHOK, CSsR
Eparch of Melbourne
Given in Melbourne,
at our Cathedral of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul,
on the 25th day of March, in the Year of Our Lord 2022,
Our Venerable Father and Confessor Theophanes of Sigriana,
Our Holy Father Gregory the Dialogist, Pope of Rome,
The Blessed Omelian Kovch, Pastor of Majdanek.