This Sunday, during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, Melbourne Bishop Mykola Bychok in his sermon pondered whether it is possible to love one’s enemies, in particular can Ukrainians love Russians.

“We can say that when we look at love for the enemy with purely human eyes, it seems impossible, but when we look at it with God’s eyes, it becomes possible, since God’s grace descends on both the righteous and the sinners” – said the bishop.

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Bishop Mykola drew special attention to the fact that only Jesus can teach this love: “In the end, Jesus Christ Himself showed us how He treated His disciple, and later the traitor, Judas – one of His apostles. Already on the cross, we see Jesus praying for their enemies: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”

The holy martyrs can also teach us to love our enemies: “We also see something similar with the first martyr Saint Stepan, when the Jews killed and stoned him, he did not ask for revenge for his enemies, but he spoke the following words: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them,” continued the bishop.

Quoting the Post-Synodal Message of the UGCC 2022 “Overcome evil with good”, the Eparch of Melbourne said that “God gives us the power to love, and the power of Ukrainians is revealed through the power of love – our soldiers are guided by the principle of not hating others, but love for their own: children, loved ones, parents, friends, land, native streets, etc. Love is manifested in the tireless work of volunteers, in the generous donations of millions.”

Summing up, the bishop emphasized that it is impossible to love our enemies if we do not keep God’s love in our hearts, and to love means to do good: “Our manifestation of love for the enemy consists in concrete life situations and helping people in their needs, not because they deserve it, but because they need it.” Only God can give us the same love.

At the conclusion of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Bishop Mykola addressed the cathedral alter team with a word of thanks, encouraging other parishioners to follow their example and actively participate in the Holy Eucharist.