Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk

The Head of the UGCC to Sisters Basilians:

“At the time when modern world and culture are looking for power, the sisters took the vow of obedience for life”

“The Gospel for the 12th Sunday tells us about debts which people owe each other. We heard that a king had a servant who owed him ten thousand bags of gold. It’s a fantastic amount, tons of gold. There is no such money in the whole golden currency reserve of Ukraine. In the ancient world, when this Gospel was written, no one in the whole Roman empire possessed such money. Ten thousand bags of gold could not have been gathered in the whole Judea and Galilee as a tax to the Roman emperor for the whole year. Isn’t it strange how one person could have spent such money? On the other hand, how could one return it? Therefore, even when the king told him to sell everything (his wife, his whole property), he wouldn’t get the money he needed. Then this servant began to ask the master: ‘Be patient with me and I will pay back everything.’ That master canceled the debt.”

This was said by the Father and Head of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav in his homily during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in the Sts. Cyril and Methodius nunnery for the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great in Lviv. During the Divine Liturgy two nuns made their profession of perpetual vows.

According to his Beatitude, in the image of this rich but at the same time generous and merciful master, Mathew creates an image of our Heavenly Father. “Our whole life with its achievements and talents is an image of our debt before God and Heavenly Father. Despite this, the Lord loves us so much that not only He gives us our life but also, he is ready to forgive us so much as we can ever owe him. There is no such a misdeed and a sin which could not be surpassed by the greatness and power of forgiveness of God’s love and mercy,” explained His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

However, later in the parable the just-forgiven servant found someone who owed him a hundred silver coins. This is a sum which could be earned in a hundred days because worker’s wages were one silver coin per day at that time. “That debt, which has been just cancelled for him, couldn’t be compared with the one that his fellow servant had. But he didn’t want to be like his merciful master, he didn’t want to share his forgiveness and didn’t want to forgive. This parable ends rather sadly. For when you don’t want to share the forgiveness you received with your neighbor, then you lose it and you are guilty before God again,” went on the preacher.

In the opinion of his Beatitude, this parable is a challenge: “For each of us doesn’t only have to experience grandeur of God’s love in his personal life story, but he must also share that forgiveness and that love in order not to lose them.”

After that the Primate of the UGCC addressed the nuns: “An interesting and deep word God addresses to you, dear sisters, who are experiencing a special day today. Today in this modest and quiet abode took place an extraordinary event of global scale: two young people came back today to their Master, to their Heavenly Father and gave Him everything that He once handed over to them. Today, our two sisters have placed upon God’s altar all their talents, dreams, their knowledge. Even more, they gave to God the prime of their life – their youth, their best years. In our presence, they told God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: ‘I belong to You, only to You forever.’ This gesture is great for the whole world.”

His Beatitude Sviatoslav explained why today something great and important is happening: “At the time when modern world and culture are looking for power and people don’t know how to control themselves but instead want to manage others, the sisters took the perpetual vow of obedience. At the time when the law of modern culture is the most pleasure with the least responsibility, the sisters today took the perpetual vow of chastity. At the time when peoples believe that the sense of their lives is to gain as much as possible of earthly treasures, these sisters refused from everything earthly and received so much more. When a person gives himself into God’s hands, God gives Himself into man’s hands. Today is a great event for the whole Church and a sign of a great hope. You are a joy for our Church.”