En lærer for vår tid, skriver Luke Coppen i The Pillar, om den ukrainske erkebiskopen Sviatoslav Shevchuk som hver dag under hele krigen har kommet med og kommer med budskap til de troende. Budskap Coppen mener har betydning langt utover Ukrainas grenser og utover den aktuelle tid vi lever i. Han henviser også til biskop Erik Vardens refleksjoner over de samme budskapene: kraina Verdt å få med seg, det også. Jeg gjengir teksten her:
Teacher for our time Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, launched almost a year ago on Feb. 24, has had many unintended consequences. One of the more unexpected is what might be the most remarkable catechetical cycle of modern times.
Since the early days of the full-scale conflict, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk has issued daily addresses intended to bolster his Ukrainian Greek Catholic flock. As Russian troops advanced on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, he broadcast the video messages from a shelter beneath the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.
After the immediate threat of being overrun (and assassinated) receded, Shevchuk continued to issue the daily rallying cries, but folded them into a systematic reflection on the truths of the Catholic faith.
By now, the broadcasts have a well-established structure. The 52-year-old Church leader begins with a review of the previous day’s destruction, thanking the country’s defenders for holding firm, and proclaiming that “Ukraine is standing! Ukraine is fighting! Ukraine is praying!” He then reflects on an aspect of the faith, from prayer to the priesthood, before concluding by invoking God’s blessing on Ukraine.
The messages are distributed in several languages by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s Rome office and amplified by Ukrainian Catholic mediaand the news monitoring website Il Sismografo.
Bombs and beatitudes The depth and brilliance of Shevchuk’s reflections have not gone unnoticed. In a pastoral letter last December, the Norwegian Bishop Erik Varden said that he had found “Christian joy” in the messages.
- “He accounts for the ravages of war, consoles the sorrowful, grieves for the dead; but above all he speaks of our Christian calling in today’s world,” Varden said. “It is impressive to hear a bishop who, while bombs fall about him, expounds the beatitudes, urges us to be merciful, prays for enemies. Ukraine experiences destruction; and here is a bishop calling for the heart’s conversion and the galvanization of the will in order that a new, blessed, peaceful society may rise from the ruins.”
Varden added: “Archbishop Shevchuk’s preaching is unsentimental and realistic, but full of hope. Thus it vibrates with joy even in the midst of warfare. It expresses rock-solid trust in God.”
The daily messages are closely followed by Ukrainian Greek Catholics and others with an interest in the largest of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome. But they deserve a wider audience — and to be gathered one day, when the war is over, in book form.