Kiev, March 2, 2020
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the head of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, issued a short message to his flock for the beginning of Great Lent in which he encourages all to sow seeds of prayer, forgiveness and mercy, and to offer true repentance.
The beloved archpastor also calls on his flock to pray for peace in Ukraine and for the softening of human hearts.
His statement reads in full:
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ!
I heartily congratulate you all with the beginning of Great Lent.
Great Lent, or the Holy Quadragesima, is the most favorable time for a man to be cleansed from sin. Overcoming our sins is very important for Orthodox Christians, because through this we come to know ourselves and the true meaning of our lives. Just as a farmer tries to sow his field with good seeds in the spring to have a good harvest in the future, so we, entering in upon the spiritual spring of Holy Lent, must take care to sow our field with good seeds—the seeds of prayer, mutual forgiveness, and mercy.
Fasting is also a time for repentance, bringing us near to God. The Lord is always near to every person, but some can see it, and some cannot. Sincere repentance tears down the wall erected by human sins and fills the soul with the joy of communion with God, peace, and tranquility.
May the Lord help every one of us during Holy Lent to work on restraining ourselves in food, avoiding evil deeds and lies, and arousing ourselves to repentance and prayer.
It is blessed to read one Kathisma from the Psalter every day, for peace in Ukraine and the softening of our hearts.
Let us pray that the Merciful Lord would strengthen us and send us His Divine blessing, which will give us great mercy on the victorious path to His bring Resurrection!