Supraśl, Poland, March 15, 2022
On Sunday, the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, an international Moleben for Peace in Ukraine was held online, sponsored by the organizers of Suprasl 2022: A World Gathering of Orthodox Youth.
Young adults and youth workers from Finland, Romania, the Netherlands, Japan, the United States, Poland, and Slovakia participated in the prayerful event, reports Suprasl 2022.
The moleben was led by Fr. Teemu Toivonen from Helsinki, with prayers for the cessation of violence and war and the uprooting in us of, “hatred, envy and jealousy, and all other passions which destroy brotherly love, and that there may be planted unfeigned love.”
Following the Moleben, His Eminence Archbishop Juraj of Michalovce and Košice of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia “offered a brief reflection in which he exhorted the faithful to unite prayer and action during this time, to do something for our neighbor in a very practical way and to prepare solutions to the refugee crisis that are durable and viable.”
Suprasl 2022, “being based in Poland, is presently seeking practical and sustainable ways to be of service to the refugees who, for now, and into the future, call Poland their home.”
Watch a video of the moleben:
Abp. Juraj’s address:
Dear brother and sisters, fathers and mothers,
I am very moved at the moment, and I would like first of all to thank the precious Lord, and all of you who have joined this prayer of ours, because it gives me hope, it gives me courage that the Orthodox all over the world have joined together in prayer for peace. We need that, we need that very much. Some people may call us naive when they see the content of our prayers. But the Lord Himself has told us, call, seek and you will be given (Mt. 7:7).
This is exactly what we need. And not only do we pray that our Lord will be merciful to us, and to His world, and to those suffering, but we also give a witness of unity through our common prayer. We are here to say no to violence, we are here to pray for peace. We are here to care for our brothers and sisters as we are able, despite all our differences and all our nationalities, we are here to unite together in prayer, sharing in one common Orthodox faith, imploring our Lord to be merciful to us and to His world. Therefore, I would like to thank all the organizers of this common prayer for their effort. And I would like to implore His blessing upon all of us.
We have just celebrated the Sunday of Orthodoxy. And, when thinking about Orthodoxy, sometimes one gets the impression that we are a little bit theoretical. We love to boast of our true faith, we like to say perhaps that we are better than others. But the only difference between us and others is the fact that into our own weak hands, into our own sinful hearts the treasure of true Apostolic Faith has been given. And the Lord expects us to work with this treasure. He trusts us and He puts everything into our fragile hands so His Gospel will be manifest in the work that we do in this world.
When celebrating the Sunday of Orthodoxy it is a time to join theory and praxis together, and these days we have so many ways of doing just that. We should join together Mary and Martha. Some of us celebrate tomorrow the Feast of one of the founders of Orthodox monasticism in the West, St Benedict of Nursia. St. Benedict gave a message to his monk and to all Christians, a message based on the Gospel, “ora et labora,” “pray and work.” These are two feet on which we as Orthodox Christians need to stand. They are united, they are intermingled, yet they are separate. We need to pray, because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the God-Man, the Alpha and Omega, He is the Lord of history, He has the answers. We need to relate to Him. We need to raise our prophetic voice to resemble His own prophetic voice, calling for peace and universal brotherhood that can only be based on Him and nothing else.
Yet at the same time, based in prayer, we have to do something for our neighbor in a very practical way. How do we do this? It depends on the specific needs of every country, of every situation, of every person that we meet. We should not take decisions out of enthusiasm based on our emotions, but grounded in prayer, we should ask the Lord for wisdom how to proceed. At this moment hundreds of thousands of refugees are flowing into the east of Europe—Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. And the majority of them are our brothers and sisters in faith. They will not stay for one day, they will not stay for one week, or one month. They will stay for a longer time. And we need to unite in prayer in order to receive wisdom, both for ourselves and our political leaders, to prepare solutions that are durable and viable so that we exclude any confrontations and any tensions that may come from this situation. So, pray and work, this is what we need to do. May the prayers of all the confessors of our faith, of our Holy Father Benedict of Nursia, of all the martyrs, especially the protection of our Most Holy Virgin, Mother, the Theotokos, be with us in all our endeavors.
I would like to close with words that I find especially inspiring that I heard today in the sermon of His Eminence Metropolitan Arseny, Abbot of Svyatogorsk Lavra, in the Ukraine, which as you may know, recently was bombed. His Eminence, in a marvelous sermon during the Liturgy today said, “we can build ruins anew, but it is difficult to build ruins of humans hearts and human minds. May the good Lord grant that there are no ruins in human minds, in the human soul, in the human spirit. Not only for those who live in the Ukraine, or have had to flee, but also in the hearts of all of us who live all over the world, and who are going through this period of darkness and temptation.”
May He Who is the Alpha and Omega, Who has risen from the dead, Who has trampled down death by death, may He also give to us joy and the source of hope in His presence, in His blessing, in His wisdom, may He answer our prayers.
And let me just end with the words that are so emblematic of every Orthodox worship, which I direct to you, dearest brothers and sisters and to all people of good will, and to the world, speaking in the name of our holy mother, the Orthodox Church: “Peace be unto all.”