Archpastoral Epistle to the Clergy, Flock of the Eastern American & Australian-New Zealand Dioceses on Great Lent, Events in the Holy Ukrainian Land
Dear in the Lord Brothers & Sisters!
On the threshold of Great Lent, this salvific time of augmented prayer and self-correction, and in connection with events unfolding in the Ukrainian land, I turn to all with a heartfelt plea: refraining from excesses in watching television, following newspapers and the internet, and closing the doors of our hearts to the passions ignited by mass media, to augment our fervent prayers for peace throughout the world, for overcoming enmity and discord, for help for the suffering, for the repose of those who have departed into life eternal and the consolation of their friends and relatives, so that we all first and foremost remain humane and Orthodox Christians in these difficult times.
The approaching Great Lent is the journey to Christ’s Pascha. This path leads us from a state of idleness, impatience, vanity, and constant anxiety to spiritual peace, integrity, humility, and love. These holy traits do not arise within us without effort, but through adhering to the other world in our churches – the world of light, joy, hope, and kindness. Without participating in the divine services of Great Lent, which create a special atmosphere in our homes and in our lives, attaining such a spiritual state is very difficult, it may even be impossible. Striving toward God, establishing peace within our hearts and participating in the sacramental life of the Church of Christ, wherein lies our personal relationship with God, we reduce the level of evil in this world, we inspire others toward labors and spiritual feats of the Gospel, we enhance peace and brotherly relationships, and do not succumb to the temptations of various discords and divisions.
Therefore, I urge everyone to take advantage of every opportunity offered by the Church to preserve peace and goodness in our hearts, to spend this grace-filled time unto our salvation, so that we can all together meet and spend the radiant Paschal night in unity of spirit and brotherly love, in the renewal of all of our strengths and the spiritual joy in the Resurrected Christ and the victory of good over evil! Amen.
Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad