PYLYPIVKA (ADVENT) PASTORAL OF THE UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC HIERARCHY OF THE U.S.A. TO OUR CLERGY, HIEROMONKS AND BROTHERS, RELIGIOUS SISTERS, SEMINARIANS AND BELOVED FAITHFUL

Glory to Jesus Christ!

“Pylypivka” or Philip’s Fast that begins on November 14th is upon us. It is a time of preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are once again called to embark on a journey to welcome Emmanuel among us! In a short forty days we will celebrate the Feast of Nativity of Our Lord. At the Matins of the Nativity we will sing:

“Christ is born, let us glorify Him. Christ comes down from heaven; let us go out and meet Him. Christ lives on earth, let us exalt in joy. All you faithful sing to the Lord, for He has been glorified.” Hirmos 1, Canon Matins of the Nativity of Our Lord.

How can we prepare ourselves to welcome God among us? How will we glorify Him? Can this Christmas season be a profound and spiritual experience for me?

In order to properly prepare to meet Christ on His feast of the Nativity, Mother Church is giving us forty days to challenge ourselves to live our Christian calling and vocation: to deepen knowledge of the Word of God, to live a life of community and personal prayer, and to perform acts of charity and mercy both in the church, and in the world. In these three points, we can describe our vocation as a Christian, as well as the vocation of the entire Church.

If every parish is called to be a place to encounter the living Christ, then Christ the Teacher must have a central place in our lives and our parish life. Now is the time to daily set aside time for reading the Sacred Scripture and to meditate upon it. We are also called to learning of Divine truth, the truths of the Christian faith

and the foundations of Christian life.

Gathered together “at the breaking of the bread”, that is at the Eucharistic Sacrifice, we are mystically united among ourselves, and are also united with Christ’s sacrifice, offered to God the Father for us and by us. The Eucharist is the center of the Christian life. The parish – the community gathers for the “breaking of the bread”, that is for the Eucharistic service. The Eucharist is at the same time the culmination of the parish life and also the source of all its spiritual blessings. Let us invite a friend or neighbor to join us for the liturgical services in our parish community.

During these days, we are called both personally, and as a member of the community to pray, for oneself, and for others, to offer one’s self as a sacrifice to God, to forgive others and to ask God for forgiveness, to bless God and to be a blessing for others.

What is most important: all of us together are called to strive for holiness, to be a truly holy people. What does this mean? In parish life, every liturgical service and all of our liturgical practices and prayer life is to promote the sanctification of the time and the place where we are, and we ourselves become sanctified as well, as a gift consecrated to God. That is why during the time of preparation for coming of our Lord we should guard oneself from sin, and strive to grow in the virtue of moderation, purity of body and soul, according to one’s state in life.

We are also called to look beyond ourselves and be of service to others, especially the less fortunate among us. During the Philip Feast let us look at our community and find those who need our help and assistance. We can visit the sick, assist the poor, give food for the hungry, care for orphans, support those who suffer injustice, promote peace, and offer comfort for those grieving. We can perform all of this in our community where we live and work, as the needy live among us.

Let us start this season together! Let us pray, meditate upon the Word of God, sacrifice for one another and trust in God. Then with joy we will be able to welcome God among us!

+Stefan Soroka

Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians

Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in the United States

+Paul Chomnycky, OSBM

Eparch of Stamford

+Benedict Aleksiychuk

Eparch of St. Nicholas in Chicago

+ Bohdan J. Danylo (author)

Eparch of St. Josaphat in Parma

+John Bura

Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia

+Andriy Rabiy

Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia

Pylypivka 2017


Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6 ESV)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing, confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica