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Lifestyles in Lviv: Ukrainian priest on funerals, meals help and prayers for victory – Faith Information Carrier

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(RNS) — The struggle in Ukraine has raged on for almost 5 months, and the Rev. Oleksiy Zavada, a Greek Catholic priest in Lviv, has had hardly ever a second’s leisure. 
Zavada is fast to indicate the town of Lviv has been spared the brunt of violence that’s ripped thru many different portions of the rustic, particularly within the east. However nonetheless, existence in western Ukraine carries consistent reminders of the realities of struggle at the entrance traces. 
“Many, many, many infantrymen in our armies are from the western a part of Ukraine,” Zavada, the notary of the Curia on the Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv, advised Faith Information Carrier on Saturday (July 9).  
The Greek Catholic custom is a long-standing, historical strand of Catholicism in Ukraine, whose title comes from the resemblance of its worship products and services, priestly vestments and use of icons to these of the Greek or Byzantine rites discovered all over Orthodox church buildings international. In a similar fashion, Greek Catholic clergymen are approved to marry and feature youngsters. Alternatively, the Greek Catholic Church is and has lengthy been underneath the authority of the pope. 
Zavada, a clergyman of 13 years, additionally ministers as assistant priest on the Parish of the Ascension of our Lord within the northeast a part of the town. He spoke over the telephone concerning the many funerals he’s presided over, how the lifetime of the church has modified — and stayed the similar — because the struggle began, and why he plans to stick, regardless of how drained he’s.
The next dialog has been edited for period and readability. 
The Rev. Oleksiy Zavada in Lviv, Ukraine. Courtesy photograph
In most cases in Ukraine when an individual dies, one priest is provide for the funeral provider. But if an individual dies that performed a very powerful position in society, it’s standard that many clergymen come for the funeral. Even clergymen from other denominations come. As , the spiritual state of affairs in Ukraine is that we’ve got a few Orthodox Church buildings, we have now the Roman Catholic Church, we have now the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which I belong to. 
This custom, to assemble many clergymen in combination at a funeral, turns out to me to return from (the pro-Eu protests) in Maidan, in 2014, when many heroes that we name nebesna sotnya (the heavenly hundred) have been killed. 
The struggle with Russia started in 2014. No longer 2022. It sort of feels to me that from that length in 2014, it changed into a convention for other people to fulfill the frame of a fallen soldier: They move out in the street they usually bow down on their knees they usually make a reside chain. 
It’s a pity that we’ve got this kind of custom, however there it’s. 
RELATED: Pope blasts Russian ‘cruelty,’ lauds Ukrainian ‘heroism’
Sure, sure. However in fact, now, since Feb. 24 (2022), we have now many, many extra deaths of our infantrymen. So this custom is sort of far and wide and ongoing. 
We’ve many, many funerals in Lviv. We’ve one church (Sts. Peter and Paul Garrison Church) — it’s a chaplaincy church for infantrymen. On this church there are funerals of fallen infantrymen very incessantly. 
We’ve movies, pictures, those forms of social networks. So on this method, we will listen sermons all through the funerals. You are feeling that you just take part in those funerals, despite the fact that you aren’t provide within the construction. 
In fact some infantrymen who’re killed, we all know (in my view). As an example, one priest I do know, his son used to be killed a few weeks in the past: Father Mykhaylo Dymyd, his son, Artem Dymyd, used to be killed
I don’t know of such a instances — that clergymen from the Moscow Patriarchate come for funerals. You already know, the placement of other people, of our devoted, of Ukrainians relating to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Moscow Patriarchate, is reasonably, reasonably damaging. In several areas of Ukraine, the native regional administrations have made selections to forbid those parishes (underneath the Moscow Patriarchate) of their areas. 
I will have to say that they (the ones Ukrainian clergymen underneath the Moscow Patriarchate) try to not elevate their voices. It sort of feels to me they don’t know what’s going to be subsequent for his or her church in Ukraine. However you will have to perceive, and bear in mind, that I’m speaking most commonly from the viewpoint of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
A cloud of smoke rises after an explosion in Lviv, western Ukraine, March 18, 2022. (AP Picture, Record)
In most cases for Lviv parishes, we serve liturgies each day. So each day in our parish, we have now liturgy, matins, vespers. 
So we proceed our day by day agenda. 
However the archeparchy made up our minds, when the struggle began, to wish day and night time. So ranging from the top of February, in our parish, for instance, we (have) had consistent, ongoing prayer day and night time. The entire day is split into one hour (slots). An individual is answerable for that hour. 
It’s now not simple, . Getting up within the night time. However it’s our non secular entrance.
We name it parish prayer, it’s most commonly lay individuals who take duty for a concrete hour. (Although additionally) clergymen take part on this chain of prayer. 
One of the vital first archeparchal selections, along with prayer, used to be that clergymen will have to keep of their parishes. Many clergymen despatched their households in a foreign country on the finish of February and it sort of feels to me now that many households of clergymen are in a foreign country. Monks can not move the border now, as it’s wartime and all through wartime many males (aren’t approved) to move the border. Many clergymen see their circle of relatives handiest over the web. 
The Rev. Oleksiy Zavada. Courtesy photograph
From the start of the struggle, my circle of relatives moved to a village close to the Polish border. They’re nonetheless there. And as soon as, each and every two weeks, I attempt to seek advice from them. For an American, it’s now not a large distance: 70-80 km. However for Ukrainians it’s reasonably some distance. In most cases I arrive Sunday within the night time and on Monday afternoon, I go away to Lviv once more. 
Lots of our persons are all the time (fed on) by means of the scoop: in social media, Fb, TV, radio. An individual can not keep, at all times, within the information. So other people had to have some leisure. It sort of feels to me they discovered a little while of peace whilst in church, in prayer. 
Additionally to do energetic issues, it sort of feels to me, is helping our other people. As an example, girls within the parish, they get ready vereniki (conventional Ukrainian dumplings). For them it’s like their weekly provider. They get in combination for a few hours, they get ready vereniki, some others get ready muffins. We freeze them and we give you the chance to cross this meals to our infantrymen. Or to these people who find themselves in want. 
Those energetic issues — getting ready meals, cooking, baking — it is helping other people to not be concerned within the information at all times. 
Many, many of us, now not handiest from the north of Ukraine, jap Ukraine, southern Ukraine, (but in addition) many of us from western Ukraine moved in a foreign country. Particularly younger other people, younger households with young children. I very incessantly listen from clergymen that the quantity of people that seek advice from church is diminished. And likewise we will have to bear in mind, sooner than the struggle used to be the pandemic. So we have now had other restrictions for liturgical presence and participation. 
How am I feeling? 
It’s a troublesome query.
Honestly, I will have to love to have some leisure. (He laughs.) I wish to have a holiday. However I believe that for now it’s now not conceivable for me. And I say to myself, my state of affairs, as a clergyman in Ukraine residing right here within the western a part of Ukraine — compared to the ones clergymen within the north a part of Ukraine, or east or south — we’re in reasonably just right situation. 
All over this struggle we can not say we’re drained. I simply examine my state of affairs (to the) state of affairs of those that are underneath rockets and bombs. For now my sense of right and wrong says I will not have leisure. I will have to paintings. We will have to paintings all in combination. In fact many of us say, I’m drained. But when we are saying this, we will be able to lose this struggle. We can have leisure after victory.
A Ukrainian lady wearing army apparel prays throughout the Sts. Peter and Paul Garrison Church in Lviv, western Ukraine, March 6, 2022. (AP Picture/Bernat Armangue)

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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

Embracing True Friendship: The Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother

Friendship is a valuable asset that enriches our lives by providing companionship, support, and a shoulder to cry on. But have you ever had a buddy who goes above and beyond—someone who remains closer than a brother? In a world where relationships can be fickle, a friend who sticks by us through thick and thin is a rare and priceless gift.

More Than Just Blood Ties

Consider the tie between siblings, which is based on blood and shared history. Consider a buddy who is more than just a family member. “One who has untrustworthy friends soon comes to ruin,” says Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This verse describes a friendship that goes beyond basic conditions. It’s a bond founded on trust, loyalty, and real concern for one another.

Continuous Support

Consider a buddy who is present not only during happy times but also during difficult times. This type of friend is unconcerned about changing circumstances or personal gain. They provide their presence, encouragement, and steadfast support.

Jesus expresses the core of such friendship in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. This selfless affection serves as the foundation for a lasting connection.

Journeys Together

Consider a friend you’ve shared many stages of life with—the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This shared experience forges a link that extends beyond surface-level exchanges. The value of companionship is brilliantly captured in Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 (NIV): “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother is someone who goes beside us through life’s ups and downs, lending a solid hand and an ear to listen.

A Mirror of God’s Love

As a symbol of God’s love for us, consider the buddy who sticks closer than a brother. God Himself offers an unbroken, unchanging, and everlasting companionship. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” says the Bible in Romans 8:38–39.

God’s love is the ultimate paradigm of true friendship—a love that is not conditional but remains faithful regardless of what happens.

Conclusion: Value true friendship.

A friend who sticks closer to you than a sibling is a treasure to be treasured. This type of friendship is founded on love, trust, and mutual care rather than convenience or shared interests. May we seek to be that sort of friend to others in our lives, just as God offers us His unfailing love.

In a world where relationships can be fleeting, let us create friendships that will endure. Let us be the sort of friends who are present in both joy and sadness, who offer unconditional support, and who mirror God’s unfailing love. We are reminded of the beauty of true friendship, which clings closer than a brother, as we welcome and cherish these unique and valuable ties.

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The Just God

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The Just God

The Just God: The Divine Balance of Justice and Mercy

The concept of justice is intertwined with the fabric of human society. We seek justice, responsibility, and reparation for wrongs done. But have you ever pondered a God who is not only just but also perfectly just? The Just God is a lighthouse of truth and righteousness, providing a profound awareness of justice and kindness that transcends human comprehension.

Justice in Pursuit

Consider a world where wrongdoers go unpunished and the disadvantaged have no recourse. The pursuit of justice is a natural human goal that reflects a feeling of rightness and order. And if we as humans value justice, how much more should the Creator of the universe, who is completely just?

According to Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV), “He is the rock; his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. He is a loyal God who does no wrong, who is straight and just. This verse reveals God’s character, which is characterized by unwavering justice.

Justice and Mercy in Balance

Consider yourself in front of a judge who holds you accountable for every action and decision you make. Imagine that same judge showing mercy and giving you a second opportunity despite the evidence against you. The just God is kind as well as just.

This delicate balance is captured in Psalm 103:10–11 (NIV): “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our iniquities. For his love for people who fear him is as high as the skies are above the earth. God’s justice is balanced by his unending love and kindness.

The Redemption of Justice

Consider a debt that you will never be able to repay—a debt of mistakes and wrongs that weigh heavy on your soul. In His perfect justice, the just God provides a solution. God provides a mechanism for justice to be served and redemption to be offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Romans 3:23–24 (NIV), “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This is an example of justice being met via the redemptive act of Christ’s sacrifice.

A Call to Justice

Consider a society in which justice is not simply a notion but a way of life. In our interactions with others, the just God calls us to exemplify justice. Micah 6:8 (NIV) states unequivocally, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. What does the Lord expect of you? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Living justly entails treating people with fairness, compassion, and respect, as the character of the just God requires.

Finishing: Adoring the Just God

The Just God asks us to comprehend the breadth of His justice—a justice that supports truth, requires accountability, and strikes a balance between mercy and justice. God’s justice and mercy merge in the person of Jesus Christ, offering us redemption and restoration.

May we turn to the just God as our ultimate standard as we traverse a world that frequently grapples with issues of fairness. May we seek His wisdom and counsel in order to live justly and treat others with love and justice. We find not only a paradigm of perfect justice but also an invitation to experience the transformative power of His kindness when we embrace the Just God.

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The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Pathway to Achievement

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The Joy of Serving Others: A Pathway to Fulfillment

The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Highway to Contentment

Have you ever ever felt the nice and cozy glow that effects from lending a serving to hand to a stranger, the enjoyment that lasts for days after the act of kindness? That emotion offers a way of the pride of serving to others. The straightforward act of serving to can give us a sense of function and pleasure in contrast to the rest in a society that incessantly pushes us to place our consideration on ourselves.

The Want to Serve

Believe a society the place everybody labored to fortify the lives of people of their instant neighborhood. The need to lend a serving to hand, proportion a load, and supply comfort is on the core of carrier. The instance used to be established through Jesus Himself when he stated, “For even the Son of Guy didn’t come to be served, however to serve, and to provide his lifestyles as a ransom for plenty of.” (NIV, Mark 10:45)

Serving others is extra than just a nice deed; it is a way to emulate the compassion and love that Christ proven for us.

Discovering Pleasure in Selfless Giving

Believe spending time with the aged or going to a neighborhood refuge to hear their stories and cause them to really feel essential. Those tiny acts of kindness won’t appear to be a lot, however they be capable to make any person’s day higher, create relationships, and toughen a sense of group.

A better feeling of pleasure emerges after we set aside our personal issues and be aware of the wishes of others. The Bible admonishes us, “Every of you can use no matter present you’ve gotten won to serve others, as trustworthy stewards of God’s grace in its more than a few paperwork.” (NIV) 1 Peter 4:10 We specific the particular talents God has given us through serving others, and it’s in those deeds of carrier that we discover authentic pleasure.

Have an effect on Unmeasurable

Take into consideration the impact if all of us realized to experience serving to others. If we take a bit spoil from our tense schedules to lend a hand a neighbor, supply a sympathetic ear, or donate cash to a reason we reinforce. Small acts of kindness have the facility to unfold, sparking a sequence response of generosity and optimistic exchange.

In step with the NIV translation of Matthew 25:40, Jesus stated, “Actually I inform you, no matter you probably did for this sort of least of those brothers and sisters of mine, you probably did for me.” No longer simplest can we fortify the lives of other folks we serve, however we additionally perform Jesus’ command to like and deal with the ones round us.

Development Relationships and Connections

Believe the sensation of camaraderie that comes from cooperating with others to reach a shared purpose. Folks come in combination via carrier, growing ties and friendships that differently won’t have took place. It serves as a reminder that we’re all part of a broader group, and that group would possibly take pleasure in the acts we do.

Serving others permits us to peer the arena from many angles and to realize the demanding situations and victories of other folks round us. Our lives are enriched and {our relationships} are deepened through this sensitivity.

Conclusion: Discovering Contentment Via Carrier

Every people has a skill that is able to be opened: the pleasure of serving to others. It serves as a reminder that our lives are meant to be about extra than just our personal pursuits; they’re an opportunity to fortify the lives of others.

Let’s thus embody the pride of serving to others, if it is by means of deeds of kindness, volunteering, or simply being conscious about their wishes. The easy act of serving would possibly supply mild and hope in a global that every so often turns out overwhelming. As we emulate Christ and prolong ourselves in love, we no longer simplest exchange the lives of others but additionally revel in a deep feeling of success and enjoyment that overflows into our personal hearts.

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