EASTER PASTORAL LETTER OF THE UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC HIERARCHY OF THE U.S.A. TO OUR CLERGY, HIEROMONKS AND BROTHERS, RELIGIOUS SISTERS, SEMINARIANS & BELOVED FAITHFUL

“Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?”
-Luke 24:32

The scene of Cleopas and his companion hurrying to Emmaus following the crucifixion and death of Jesus is one of the most evocative in all of Holy Scripture. In a vain attempt to forget everything they had witnessed in the last few days, the pair had attempted to put as much physical distance as possible between themselves and the horrific events in Jerusalem.

Doubtless, many emotions were coursing through their hearts as they walked that lonely road: confusion, fear, sorrow, but above all, hopelessness and despair. All their aspirations and desires for the future had been dashed with the death of Jesus. There was nothing left to hope for.

The hopelessness and despair experienced by Cleopas and his companion are not strangers to us who live two thousand years later. People of every generation have been afflicted by these same emotions. Today’s information and consumer driven lifestyle exacerbate them even more. In fact, psychologists have called the “malaise of hopelessness” the most pervasive illness of modern humanity.

We stumble into the abyss of hopelessness for many reasons: when we fail at endeavors we undertake, when we feel excluded or isolated from others, when we are constrained by illness or the circumstances of life, when we feel helpless to control our own destiny, and especially, when we fall continually into sin.

For Ukrainians, the feelings of hopelessness have been intensified by the ravages of the Russian invasion of our homeland. After living through two years of death and destruction, there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. When will it all end? How much more suffering are we called to endure?

Cleopas and his companion provide an answer to all of us who suffer from hopelessness and despair, no matter what form they take. And that answer is Christ Resurrected!

The Resurrected Christ meets them on the road in the midst of the darkness of their despair and, as they walk, he speaks to them and begins to shed light into the darkness. Later, in Emmaus, at the breaking of the bread, their transformation is complete. Their lives are radically changed. Jesus offers them His Body, and with it, the light of hope and a bright and certain path to the future.

All their doubts, their pain, their sorrow, their fear, melt like morning dew in the sun. So much so, that after He disappears from their sight they exclaim to one another: “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?” And with renewed courage and determination to face the future they return to Jerusalem to give witness to the Risen Christ.

Dearly beloved in Christ! Today, the Resurrected Christ meets each one of us as well, just as He met Cleopas and his companion, and He walks with us on the road of our lives just as He walked with them. He meets us wherever we are, under whatever circumstances we find ourselves. He meets us in the proclamation of the Word of His Holy Gospel. And He comes to us in His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, which He offers to us during the celebration of every Divine Liturgy. Jesus transforms our lives just as He transformed the lives of Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus.

With His glorious Resurrection from the darkness of the grave and eternal death, Jesus gifts us with renewed hope in eternal life, and light for the road that lies ahead of us. He gives us the confidence and courage to overcome any challenges we are called to face in our lives. And He promises to walk with us, just as he walked with Cleopas and his companion, and to never abandon us, wherever our road may lead.

May the hope and light of our Resurrected Lord be upon all of you and upon our long-suffering homeland of Ukraine during this Paschal season and always!

Christ is Risen!
Indeed He is Risen!
+Borys Gudziak
Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians
Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States
+Paul Chomnycky, OSBM (author)
Eparch of Stamford
+Вenedict Aleksiychuk
Eparch of St. Nicholas in Chicago
+Bohdan J. Danylo
Eparch of St. Josaphat in Parma
Easter 2024

Ukraine did not die 90 years ago. Freedom sprouted from the seeds hidden in the palms of our brothers and sisters, states the Appeal of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine on the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor.

"Behold, I am about to do something new!

Now it already springs forth; do you not see it?

(Is. 43:19)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are commencing the Fast of St. Philip, embarking on a journey that culminates in the contemplation of an indescribable mystery – God's condescension to humanity. It is at the Nativity of Our Lord that God draws near to us, for "In the union of the divine and human, ‘the incorporeal one takes on flesh, the Word becomes approachable, the invisible one is seen, the impalpable one is touched, the one beyond time enters time, the Son of God becomes the Son of Man.’" (Christ Our Pascha, §179). In this divine event, God not only reveals His name but also makes Himself visible, inviting us to recognize Him.

‘Peace, peace,’ they cry, yet there is no peace! (Jeremiah 6:14)

The Eastern Catholic Bishops of the United States, gathered in their annual meeting in St. Louis, March 21-23, declare their solidarity with the suffering nation and Churches of Ukraine. We encourage all people of good will, our priests, religious, monastics, and faithful to intensify their prayer for peace in Ukraine.

Most Reverend Archbishops and Bishops,
Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers,
Venerable Brothers and Sisters in Monastic and Religious Life,
Dearly Beloved Laity in Christ of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church

Christ is Risen!
Having kept its seals intact,
You rose from the grave, O Christ,
Who preserved the Virgin’s keys in Your birth,
and opened for us the doors of Paradise.
Ode 6, Paschal Canon

“Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean” (Mt. 8:2)

For the people of the ancient world, the most dreaded disease was undoubtedly leprosy.  It was an incurable and pervasive disease that slowly spread over the body, covering it with painful, unsightly ulcers and condemning all who contracted it to horrible suffering and death.  It was a merciless illness that honored no boundaries, ravaging the lives of everyone it touched: male and female, young and old, educated and illiterate, saints, and criminals, rich and poor alike.  It was literally impossible to move beyond its reach.

“And they were terrified…But the angel said to them:
Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
He is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Lk. 2:10-11)

 


Most Reverend Fathers, Deacons, Monks and Nuns,
Brother Seminarians, and Dearest Faithful,

Nine months from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pope Francis writes a letter in which he expresses his sorrow and closeness to “the noble and martyred” Ukrainian people.

By Salvatore Cernuzio

“Overcome evil with good!” (Rom. 12:21) Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (Jn. 15:13).

Beloved in Christ!

Christ is Risen!

You have descended into the depths of the earth, O Christ,

And have broken the eternal bonds which held the captive, 

And like Jonah from the whale on the third day,

You arose from the tomb!

Ode 6, Paschal Canon

The myrrh-bearing women at the break of dawn

drew near to the tomb of the Lifegiver.

There they found an angel sitting upon the stone,

he greeted them with these words:

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

Why do you mourn the incorrupt amid corruption?

Go: proclaim the glad tidings to His disciples.

 

Paschal Stikherion

From the department of External Relations of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Catholic Emergency Appeal
The Head of the UGCC Sviatoslav Shevchuk - Save St. Sophia Cathedral Intelligence sources are revealing that there is a plan for the Russian invaders to destroy the 1,000-year-old cathedral of Holy Wisdom, St. Sophia, in the historic heart of Kyiv. Speaking from a bomb shelter, His beatitude Sviatoslav is appealing to the world to save the church of God’s Holy Wisdom.
“We have received information that the Russian army plans an air strike on the most venerable holy site of the Ukrainian people since the time of Kyivan Rus — the Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Kyiv. His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Head and Father of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, calls upon all Christians to pray for the protection of this holy site of all Slavic peoples and calls upon the aggressor to refrain from this most horrific act of vandalism.”