The Most Reverend John Wilson spoke passionately to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic community in the UK about the disastrous consequences that war has brought to Ukraine.
The Archbishop of Southwark was invited to preach at the Divine Liturgy at the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in central London on Sunday 27th February.
He used his homily to stress how we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, “shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, and soul to soul.”
“I am not a politician. I am not a statesman. I am a disciple and a shepherd. I follow the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace,” he said. “I, with so many others, long and yearn for all God’s people to be gathered in unity and harmony. Christ our Saviour commands that we love one another; and he permits no exceptions. This is not some fanciful ideal. His commandment to love our neighbour cuts to the heart of what it means to be human, of what it means to belong to the human race, of what it means to share the earth as our common home.”
Archbishop Wilson describes the sense of disbelief among right-thinking people and the pain and loss the invasion has caused:
“Unwarranted oppression casts its dark shadow across your country and our continent; and we weep. We weep before God who demands that war must cease. We weep before God who demands this war in Ukraine must end. We weep before God for all those who have already lost their lives.”
He also addressed the sense of helplessness felt looking on from afar, but underlined that we have an important part to play in the ‘spiritual battle’.
“We ask ourselves, what difference can I make? I am nothing; nothing but a powerless witness to bloodshed, to a country and people torn apart. There is, and will be, material support that we can and must give. But there is another battle in which we can take up arms from afar. It is the spiritual battle for conversion which can only be won by prayer.”