Bancheny, Chernivtsi Province, Ukraine, December 7, 2022
The Ukrainian state wants to take the Church away from the faithful, warns one of the most outspoken hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but the faithful must focus on pray, love, and service.
On Sunday, December 4, the feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos Into the Temple, His Eminence Metropolitan Longin of Bancheny turned to the faithful with a heartfelt plea, calling on them not to pay attention to the actions of the authorities and security forces, but simply “to pray, love your neighbors, and serve the Lord.”
The Church has always been persecuted, he noted.
“I call you to prayer and to love. The prayer of Orthodox Ukraine will defeat the enemy visible and invisible. Don’t fight with people—that’s what the devil does. The confrontation between God and satan has been going on for many thousands of years, but Christ always wins,” the Metropolitan encouraged.
“They won’t kill all of us, because Ukraine is all Orthodox… Thank you to our state for wanting to take the most precious thing from us—the Church and the faith, but nothing will work out!... No one can defeat God and the Church of God,” His Eminence preached.
“We don’t abandon our Church, because God’ doesn’t abandon us,” he exclaimed. And only love and kindness can overcome evil, the hierarch reminded his flock.
He also called on the people to pray for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, saying: “He’s a true spiritual father who prayers and worries for our Ukraine.”
Met. Longin’s Holy Ascension Monastery in western Ukraine has housed thousands of refugees since the war began, and it has already been caring for hundreds of orphans for years now. The monastery also operates a treatment-rehabilitation center and a medical center.
In his word on the recent feast, Met. Longin spoke of his love for Ukraine, and he has also strongly expressed his opposition to the war. In June, the monastery’s Instagram page published a video in which Met. Longin criticized Patriarch Kirill for his stance towards the war, which, Met. Longin says, is spilling blood and destroying churches and monasteries. “You’ve wounded us and brought us great pain,” he said.