Archpriest Vitalian (Drobotun)

Glory to Jesus Christ, dear brothers and sisters!

I congratulate you on Holy Communion and Liturgy.

Today is a Shrove Sunday. At the end of Liturgy we, the clergy, ask you for forgiveness. Maybe, we offended someone accidentally or intentionally, consciously or unconsciously. We should ask for forgiveness our relatives as well, we should ask for forgiveness our enemies, if it is possible. And if not, we should forgive them in heart. We should forgive them before God, in order that our soul is clear while entering the Great Lent. Our soul should be pure from offenses, obduracy and aggression.

We know that usually there are a lot of trials both in the personal lives of people and in life of the State during the Great Lent. It is a very difficult time for our nation. We see the behavior of Russia and its designated people, its president.

Our main task now is to pray. To pray for our government, that they make correct decisions. To pray that the Lord give strength to all citizens of Ukraine, and they do not fall for provocations and do not enter into conflicts.

We know that the Lord told us: "What is impossible for people is possible with God". Lord can stop Russia very quickly, whatever frightful it is. Everything in this world takes place according to the will of God.

We think: "Why is it so? Why do our nation, our state suffer? Why do corrupt officials-oligarchs hold positions of presidents"? But overwhelming majority of our state elected them. We had elected those people, who plundered our state. Now aggression comes from Russia, farther there can be war. If the war takes place, Crimea will be destroyed. Devastation will be in the whole country. There will be no economic or social goods for people.

Some people think: "Crimea is far from us, there are 1000 kilometers away, and I can stay in Kyiv, work here". Nothing of the kind, war will get here too. Therefore, we, as responsible Christians must now pray and ask the Lord to stop military aggression, to solve the situation by peaceful means. In such way that Ukraine becomes independent and Crimea continues to be a part of Ukraine. But the main thing, that there is no war, no bloodshed.

And we know that Lord can do everything. He said: "Keep asking and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking and the door will be opened to you". And we have asked today. We asked during the Liturgy, we will ask at home, we will gather together with our families to pray, because it is not the problem of Crimea. It is the problem for the whole country. Therefore I ask you to take it seriously and pray sincerely.

We saw the revolution on Maidan, we saw frightful and numerous murders there. Now, just imagine, - If there is a war, there will be killed more than 100 people, the amount of killed people will be – thousands. We saw that God stopped Yanukovych and his people, because a lot of people prayed. Let us and now pray, that the Lord stopped other people from Russia.

When the Great Lent starts, we will keep the fast and ask the Lord the help to enter the fast in the way we can do it. Today it was read from the Holy Writ: “Everyone asks in the way he can.” Out task is not to judge other people. Someone eats milk products, someone does not; someone easts meat, someone does not. It is a personal business. We have to redeem alone, individually work on the sins in order that the Lord could bring closer to Him our soul, our body and bless us to be His true children. And we must judge others for the different view in the fast. And vice versa, we have to unite in the prayer to God, unite in the good doings, in the support of people, who need help.

We all remember the last week Gospel, where the Lord told us about the Justice Court. How He will divide the sheep and goats. And He will ask: “Did you do good things? Did you visit someone in the prison or in the hospital; did you do some other good things?” This is an example for us, what we must do it during the Lent. It is not only about meat or other products, but we have to do good things, sanctify our soul, take care about the spiritual growth and to get closer to God. And God will hear our prayers better; He will help us and react to our prayers.

Despite the events that happened in our country, despite the events that happened in our church and the enemies can’t become quiet till now; we forgive them. But we know that the Lord will stop them. We work on our projects that our Church could grow that the justice and truth became visible, that the falsehood could not be spread. And the Lord is with us, because we hope only for Him.

Russia hopes for its army, others hope for some man and we hope only for God. And the Lord will not leave us in this fight, not in our inner or in the country fight. The main is that we do not decide to give up and refuse God. We have to be with Him.

Let the Lord save you.