Kiev, September 11, 2020
There are some feats in which we can imitate the venerable fathers, if not become equal to them, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, preached on the feast of the Synaxis of the Saints of the Far Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra.
The main asceticism of the last Christians, which could make them equal to the great ascetics of previous centuries, will be the patient endurance of sorrows and sicknesses, His Beatitude told his flock. Video of Met. Onuphry’s homily is published on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s YouTube page.
“Looking at the life of our venerable fathers, everyone wants to take some kind of lesson for himself. Can we do something similar to what the venerable fathers did?” the Ukrainian primate asked.
“Of course, probably none of us today could close ourselves up in a small, narrow cave as our recluses did,” he stated. “We would die there, even if they brought us trays full of food and drink every day… We would fall into despondency; we would die from despondency.”
But there are other ways in which we must imitate the venerable ascetic fathers, His Beatitude continued, recalling the words of the holy fathers that the Christians of the last times will be saved by enduring sorrows and diseases. We are not capable of the ascetic feats of the great fathers of the first centuries of the Church, but we must take inspiration from their struggles and do what we can.
The world is filled with sorrows and sicknesses today, but we must not grumble or blame God, His Beatitude preached. We must accept “this bitter medicine by which the Lord heals us.”
“We don’t need to start examining our sicknesses, to find the cause of them. We must endure them and try to correct ourselves and keep an eye on ourselves so we don’t sin. We must emulate the saints in patience and not think it’s so simple. Patience makes a man wise, and it helps to understand a situation, both externally and internally,” Met. Onuphry emphasized.
And in all situations, we must ever bear in mind that God is everything, and I am nothing, the beloved primate exhorted.
Earlier, His Beatitude called on his flock to always follow the path of the commandments of God, paved with love for God and man, contrary to the fashionable rules of modern society.