This past month Metropolitan Onufry of Chernovtsy and Bukovina, was elected and enthroned at the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), replacing Metropolitan Volodymyr who passed away earlier this summer. By this election he now has to guide the faithful of Ukraine through it’s uncertain and potentially more violent future.
It is no coincidence that Metropolitan Onufry was providentially brought to the throne in this time of alarm. He is not a politician, although he can be political; he is not a Nationalist, although he cares deeply for his nation; he is not a business man but rather a steward of the talents bestowed upon him by the Lord. He is not the master but a servant, and a shepherd to the flock of Christ, even in crises.
Times of uncertainty and war reveal to us what true love is, what real life is, and where is our true home. The most saintly men, the ones who offered more than anyone else, reveal this. It seems that the leaders, the ones who made the most difference, were the ones who assumed leadership in improbable and violent times.
It was in those times (as it is now), that the proclamation of the Gospel needed to be heard, that hope that Lord is merciful needed to be offered, and that the Cross by which death was put to death needed to be exalted.
It is this witness that is needed in Ukraine, as well as in our own cities, workplaces and families. No matter what is at stake, what threatens us, Christ has overcome it through his life saving-passion, death and resurrection. Noting can take that away from us.
We, with Vladika Onufry, and all those who desire peace and stability for Ukraine, and for the world, must follow the saints and bishops of old who stood up for the Cross, and not any other system, or culture, or life. By the Cross, may we all bear witness to the Lord who humbled Himself, and by the Cross may a lasting and loving peace be granted to Ukraine and to us.