A number of Orthodox Christians have shared with me their concerns regarding the current situation of our Holy Orthodox Faith within Ukraine. The issue is a complex one and, unfortunately, contains a strong political element as well — something that should never be present within the life of our Holy Orthodox Church. It saddens me that even the U. S. Government is noticeably involved.
Forgive me, but it is my poor opinion that the most important thing that both clergy and laity can do, most of whom are thousands of miles away and only have articles translated into English from which to determine what is happening, is to pray that all hierarchs directly involved will surrender their imperfect wills to the perfect will of our Great High Priest: our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We should be praying fervently for that everyday. And who better to entreat for divine assistance in this essential task than: the Mother of our Life, the Mother of our Church, the Mother of us all — our Most Beloved Panaghia, the Theotokos!
The holy Athonite Fathers, who dwell in the “Garden of Panaghia,” encourage us to say the Akathist to our Holy Lady several times a day, when we have a serious problem. Therefore, permit me to suggest the following: What if each one of us offered an Akathist (It takes only about 12.5 minutes to read or chant) a day to our Holy Mother — begging her to intercede for us? What if our family members also said the Akathist, and we entreated others to join with us as well?
Beloved living ikons of Jesus, St. John Chrysostom reminds us that God's wisdom is not given to our reason, but to our hearts. Therefore, although we may become informed to a certain extent from reading these articles, I do not think that we will get divine wisdom, or Godly knowledge that way. As I read the comments at the end of several articles (not so much on this website), it saddens me to see the apparent judgmental attitudes being expressed — on both sides. Our Golden-mouthed holy Church Father also offers us this profound advice: “The sin of schism is not purged, even by martyr’s blood.”
In the Book of Acts (12:3-11), when St. Peter was bound in chains in a lower dungeon and surrounded by guards, the faithful were pouring out fervent and continuous prayers. And God answered those prayers by removing all the obstacles. I believe within my heart that is what we should also be doing in this situation, because that noble task is within our power. Through the praying of the Akathist to Panaghia, we will be mystically united with perhaps thousands of Orthodox Christians all over the world, and I trust that our Panaghia can bring about the healing that is so desperately needed!
O our Most Beloved Panaghia, “thou who makest things that differ to agree,” we entreat thee: Accept our humble offering of the Akathist to thee, and speak to the hearts of all the Hierarchs involved in this conflict. Keep firm those who have God’s truth within their hearts, and lead to God’s truth those who currently do not. Obliterate, with thy divine maternal love, this demonic attack on thy Son’s One True Bride.
“Unto thee I commit mine every hope, O Mother of God; guard me (and all Orthodox Christians) under thy shelter.” Amen
Thy sinful slave,
Unworthy priest, +Demetrios
Fr. Demetrios Carellas is a priest of the Greek Archdiocese of America
An English translation of the Akathist to the Mother of God can be found here.