Archbishop of Ukraine: “A Day When the Whole Nation Takes a Stand for Orphans”

Lubomir Guzar
Lubomir Guzar

Throughout Ukraine last month, thousands of churches celebrated Orphan Sunday.  Increasingly, both Catholic and Orthodox churches—the large majority in Ukraine—are joining Protestant in placing special accent on the call to care for Ukraine’s orphans.  This year, the President of Ukraine even issued an official proclamation urging all churches to celebrate Orphan Sunday.

Together, Christians across the nation are highlighting God’s special love for orphans and how ordinary people can transform the lives of orphans.  The Archbishop Emeritus of the Catholic Church, Lubomir Guzar, was described recently by one Protestant leader as “the most respected religious leader of Ukraine.  Archbishop Guzar gave televised remarks for Orphan Sunday, describing it as “a day when our community, the whole nation takes a stand for the future of orphans.”  The (translated) remarks included the following:

On this Sunday, we are called to prayer.  And praying means to entrust those who need us, younger brothers and sisters, the orphans, to the Lord’s special care.

In other words, we remind the Lord in prayer of the commandment that He promised to keep, that He is the father to the fatherless.  But God expresses His love through us, through those who realized what it means to carry an orphan’s cup—one who is missing protection, but more than that of material protection, they are missing that special love that parents use when they raise their children.

So, we must pray that we can serve orphans under God’s inspiration. But we must also ask God to show us ways how we can replace parents to these orphans, so that they can feel love coming from us and honesty in wanting to take care of them and protect them…

A Christian community must have a very open heart for orphans who are a part of the community. We cannot be indifferent to them; we cannot push them away and make sure that someone else feeds them. It is not enough. As a Christian community, we must take special care of those children who are deprived of a normal family environment, deprived of parents who are not there for them anymore for different reasons. We must take care of them with our love and attention. Therefore, as a community we must think of ways we can help orphans. As a Christian community we become tools in God’s hands and through us He is taking care of the needy…

As Christians we must decide and think: What we can do? It easy enough to say that this is someone else’s concern: the government or region services. “Let them build big orphanages and take care of children in their own way.”  That is just pushing an existing problem away.  Because an orphan…can never replace that family atmosphere that every child deserves to be raised in.

So, may this Sunday, dear listeners and viewers, be a moment of prayer and decision making…