Around Ukrainians with Pesach, Roman Catholic’s Easter and Zelenskyy’s prayer on Orthodox Easter.

In Ukraine on the 15th of April, Biblestudents, Christadelphians, Nazarene Friends and members of the Abrahamic Faith Church took time with each other, in cellars as well as in tube stations to have a gathering for the Memorial Meal. Perhaps this could have been a very peculiar moment for Trinitarians to come to hear how followers of Christ, like him, come together to remember the exodus out of slavery.

For many Ukrainian brothers and sisters that Friday night was very special because there was a certain intimacy that one otherwise in the Kingdom Hall can not have. Many had to keep the memorial meal in their cellar where there was not much light, which gave it a special atmosphere. Those who are living in the metro, this year had to read the Bible passages in front of others, of which some never heard such a Bible reading. This way the Word of God could reach others in this horrible time of distress.

Some Ukrainians, it must be said, feel as if the rest of the world leaves them in the dark, not wanting to impose a no-fly zone above Ukraine, which would help them a lot. They also know that normally they should love all people, but the last few weeks also for them it became very difficult to feel love, let stand sympathy with the Russians. Even Russian brethren living in Ukraine now have it very difficult to keep up a good relationship with the Russians from the North. According to them, it also shall be going to take many years before the sour relationship will be restored, even in those cities like Odessa which were normally also holiday places for the Russians.

Two days later than we celebrated Pesach the Roman Catholics had their Easter celebration. One week later, it was the turn of the members of the Russian and Ukraine Orthodox Churches to celebrate their most important day of the year.

On that day, the Ukrainian president spoke to his people, saying

80-391-0151 Kyiv St.Sophia's Cathedral RB 18 2 (cropped).jpg
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, is an architectural monument of Kyivan Rus.

Today is a great holiday. And I’m in a great place. The Great St. Sophia Cathedral. In the cathedral, which was founded a thousand years ago, on the field of the sacred battle where the army of Kyivan Rus’-Ukraine defeated the Pechenegs. In the cathedral, which was not destroyed by the Horde invasion or the Nazi occupation, which withstood in spite of everything!

Today we all believe in a new victory for Ukraine. And we are all convinced that we will not be destroyed by any horde or evil.

We are enduring dark times. And on this bright day, most of us are not in bright clothes. But we are fighting for a bright idea. On the bright side.

Then he went talking about the Virgin Orans, Oranta (The Great Panagia) the  Orthodox Christian depiction of the Virgin Mary in prayer with extended arms. He believes that what he calls

the power of the patron saint of the human race – Oranta.

  is above him and above all the Ukrainian people.

He continued:

The unshakable pillar of the Church of Christ, the unbreakable wall of the main stronghold – Kyiv, the Unbreakable Wall of the State. As long as there is Oranta, there is Sophia, and Kyiv stands with her, and the whole of Ukraine stands with them!

But when looking at Kyiv and many other cities in Ukraine, the Russians created a horrible battlefield, not many buildings free of damage. Though when looking at certain pictures of several villages it is strange how certain churches or chapels are still standing straight whilst everything around is level with the ground. It lets us think about words from the Psalms, which are also written above the image of Oranta:

“God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it.”

When having some contact with a few of our brethren and sisters, we hear about their pride for their country and the faith that God is with them and one day shall deliver them from all evil. Some wonder if the prophecies spoken about in the Scriptures are now in a time of fulfilment.

Zelenskyy expressed a feeling some Biblestudents have as well.

On this Great Day, we all believe that our dawn is coming soon.

Oranta in Latin means “one who prays”. And it can be noted that lots of Ukrainians have been praying for the last two months. The same as for Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians

in the Resurrection of Christ, which symbolizes the great victory of life over death, each of us asks the Lord for one thing. And speaks the same words to heaven. The words of a great and united prayer.

For many Ukrainians, this has become

Great and Only God! Save our Ukraine!

Protect those who protect us! Heaven, protect those who defend the native land. Strengthen the will of those who protect us from captivity. Save those who save Ukraine. These are our military, national guards, border guards, our territorial defense, intelligence. These and all our other warriors of light.

Help those who help them. These are volunteers and all people who care. From Ukraine and around the world. Give strength to all who give all their strength. May everyone who seeks always find. May everyone who is on the road always overcome it. And may everyone who does everything possible to save Ukraine never lose faith that everything is possible.

Important for us all is also to think about all those people who are doing their utmost best to save lives.

Save the lives of those who save the lives of others. These are all our medics. Our firefighters, rescuers, sappers. May the victory of life be a symbol not only of this holiday. May life win the battle against death every day.

Take care of our mothers. Give endurance to those who are waiting for a son or daughter from the war. Give fortitude to those who, unfortunately, have lost their children on the frontline. Help those who have lost their children in peaceful cities and villages where Russia has brought death to overcome unbearable pain.

And give good health to all our mothers and all our grandmothers for many more years. To see their loved ones. To see peace and victory. To see justice. And the happy old age that the invaders are trying to steal from them. And instead of knitting scarves and sweaters for their grandchildren, today they weave camouflage nets. So give many years of peaceful life to them.

And to our fathers. And to our grandfathers. Who once told their grandchildren about the war, and today send grandchildren to the war. Our fathers and our grandfathers built this country. Today they see it being destroyed. Let them see how our land will be liberated and rebuilt. And give us strength to do it.

Take care of all our children. Give every boy and every girl a happy youth, maturity and old age, which will allow at least a little to get rid of the memories of their terrible childhood during the war. Not children’s, scary games that they were forced to play. Hide and seek, but in the basement, from the bombs. Running, but from the gunshots. Travel, but because of the loss of home, fleeing the war.

Save all Ukrainians! We did not attack anyone, so give us protection. We have never destroyed other nations, so do not let anyone destroy us. We did not seize other people’s lands, so do not let anyone seize ours.

Save Ukraine! Its right and left banks – at a time when we are being viciously beaten on both right and left cheeks. At the end of winter, spring did not come to us. Severe cold was brought to our house. At dawn we were brought opaque darkness.

We believe, God, that in your judgment you will not forget them all. All those who have forgotten all your commandments.

You will not forget about Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka, Hostomel. All those who survived brutal crimes. Give them and all our land human happiness.

You will not forget about Chernihiv, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Sumy, Kharkiv, Izyum, Kramatorsk and Volnovakha, Popasna. All other towns and villages that hear the terrible explosions. Let them and all of us hear the fireworks of victory.

You will not forget about Mariupol and its heroic defenders. One can destroy the walls, but can’t destroy the foundation on which the morale stands. The morale of our warriors. The morale of the whole country.

We see terrible scenes of war. Let us see a happy picture of peace.

We are going through very difficult ordeals. Let us reach a just end on this path – the beginning of a happy life and prosperity of Ukraine!

Our hearts are full of fierce fury. Our souls are full of fierce hatred for the invaders and all that they have done. Don’t let fury destroy us from within. Turn it into our accomplishments from the outside. Turn it into a force of good to defeat the forces of evil.

Save us from strife and division. Don’t let us lose unity.

Strengthen our will and our spirit. Don’t let us lose ourselves. Don’t let us lose our longing for freedom. Therefore, do not let us lose our zeal for a righteous struggle. Do not let us lose hope of victory and self-esteem, and therefore our freedom. And therefore Ukraine. And therefore faith.

Dear Ukrainians!

Last year we celebrated Easter at home because of the pandemic. This year we also celebrate the Resurrection of Christ not as we used to. Because of another virus. Because of the plague called war.

Both last year’s and the current threat are united by one thing – nothing can defeat Ukraine.

The great holiday today gives us great hope and unwavering faith that light will overcome darkness, good will overcome evil, life will overcome death, and therefore Ukraine will surely win!

And on Easter, we ask God for great grace to make our great dream come true – this is another great day – the day when great peace will come to Ukraine. And with it – eternal harmony and prosperity.

With faith and confidence in this – I congratulate all of you on Easter.

Take care of yourselves. Take care of your loved ones. Take care of Ukraine!

Christ is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed.

+

Preceding

  1. Two presidents warning the West of what might come
  2. No-fly zone needed over Ukraine to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe 
  3. Russian army wants to make Ukraine the Syria from Europe
  4. The Guardian’s view on Ukraine for the first half of April 2022

++

Additional reading

  1. Left in the dark or being in the dark seeing light
  2. Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters
  3. In a time when we must remain in our place
  4. How should we worship God? #8 Love one another
  5. Only a few days left before 14 Nisan
  6. Living in peace through restoration
  7. So many being afraid – reason enough to step in the boat with Christ
  8. US adds $800m in military aid to Ukraine, including drones, anti-tank weapons

Published by Belgian Biblestudents - Belgische Bijbelstudenten

Bible Students: Believers looking in and studying the Bible to find the Truth, reason and the essence of life. - Onderzoekers van de Bijbel: Gelovigen in Bijbel zoekend naar het begin, reden van leven, zin en onzin in de wereld en op zoek naar de Waarheid.

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