CWN - Demonstrators who are challenging the Ukrainian government in Kiev are not only opposing a move away from the European community, but also battling to remove the lingering influence of the old Soviet regime, according to a bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Bishop Borys Gudziak, who heads the Ukrainian-rite Eparchy (diocese) of France, Belgium, and Luxemburg, defended the protesters in Kiev in interviews with Vatican Radio and with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). The bishop—who doubles as president of Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv—said that the current political crisis in Ukraine is “a battle for dignity.”

“The people are not out on the streets to campaign for a party or candidate,” the bishop told ACN. “They are gathering around principles.” He praised the protesters for their peaceful presence, contrasting their behavior with the violence of the police response. “The legitimacy of the Ukrainian government is predicated by respect for human rights,” he said. “That respect has been neglected and in some cases has been absent” during the confrontations in Kiev, he charged.

Bishop Gudziak reported that each day’s demonstrations in Kiev begin with prayers, and priests have always accompanied the protesters, sometimes hearing confessions. “It is hard to imagine a more prayerful protest in 21st century Europe,” he told ACN.

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Teachings of Christ

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

Theophany

At Your baptism in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion - Tone 1)

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

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * “You have come, and You have appeared , O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

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

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

If God is slow in answering your request, and you ask but do not promptly receive anything, do not be upset, for you are not wiser than God. When you remain as you were before, without anything happening, it is either because your behaviour is not worthy of your request, or because the paths in which your heart was travelling were far removed from the aim of your prayer, or because your interior condition is far too childish, when compared with the magnitude of the thing for which you have asked.

St. Isaac of Nineveh [Syria], The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life.