February 24, 2022

We enter the Great Lenten Fast. Just as the hope of relief from the Pandemic began to grow, the invasion of Ukraine and threat of a larger global war has arisen. Since 1991 the faithful living in Ukraine had the joy of political and religious freedom. The occupation of parts of Lugansk and Donetsk Provinces has already cost 14,00 lives. With the threat of Communist suppression of the entire nation, the shadow of the return to the decades of gloom has returned for the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Catholic members living in the nation of Ukraine.

We pray for our members who have families in Ukraine. Especially, we pray for the families of our ten priests from Ukraine serving in the Pittsburgh Archeparchy as well as for several other priests and religious serving other churches in the United States.

The Great Fast is the season of praying, fasting and almsgiving. We certainly will remember Ukraine in our paying and fasting during the Great Fast. Also, we will take up a collection on the Third Sunday of the Fast for the Church in Ukraine. We ask our parishes to send the collection to the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. We will transfer the offering to the Eparchy of Mukachevo.

We take for granted our religious and political freedom. Although our political system is far from perfect, we are allowed to worship without interference from the government. When we are persecuted for our faith, we can draw courage from the Books of the Old Testament which are filled with stories of the suffering of the people of Israel. Even though they suffered, they remained faithful to the Lord. Their enduring faith was eventually rewarded with the restoration of their people.

We pray to the Lord that the invasion forces will withdraw. But if they do not withdraw, we pray that the Lord will give our people the spiritual strength to endure yet another persecution. It will likely be a time of suffering. We hope and pray that this oppression will be mild and short. And we pray that the Lord will restore their nation and our Church.

Most Reverend William C. Skurla
Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh
Metropolitan Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
66 Riverview Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15214
(412) 231-4000 Phone | (412)231-1697 Fax

Joachim and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (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 whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (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.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)