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Author Topic: Some sad observations and thoughts re. Ukrainian "cradles"  (Read 1140 times) Average Rating: 0
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Heorhij
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« on: April 24, 2009, 09:13:53 AM »

Over this Paschal week, I read some sarcastic notes published in Ukrainian online newspapers ("Korrespondent," "Maidan," etc.) about the way people in Ukraine "celebrated" the Holiday.

Feasting actually started on the Great and Holy Friday, April 17. On that day, newspapers (!) began to publish congratulations "with the upcoming Holiday" from various people and organizations. All these congratulations, of course, contained the words, "Christ Is Risen!" And the text of these congratulations inevitably contained all kinds of rhetoric about happiness, prosperity, renewal, spring, and of course our great Ukrainian nation, culture and traditions (especially if the authors were from the "nationalistic" Western Ukraine). On the Great and Holy Saturday, the flood of these congratulations increased. Newspapers published huge colored pictures of the traditional Ukrainian "pysanky," Easter eggs, and photographs of city streets and various institutions decorated with Pascha decorations; the athmosphere was absolutely feast-like, triumphant, and completely secular. By the Pascha Sunday, it seems, everyone had already congratulated everyone and the celebration kind of went down.

One participant of the Maidan online discussion forum sarcastically commented that this huge desire to celebrate Pascha "in advance" and the competition between newspapers regarding the Paschal congratulations on the days of the Holy Week reminded him of the competition, artificially heated by the powers-that-be, in the 1930's to "fulfill the 5-year Plan in four years." Another person compared this festive madness with the rush to "catch up with America and leave her behind," which was the official slogan of the Khrushchev years.

Lesya and I also received several e-mails from our Ukrainian relatives and friends (all baptized Orthodox!), congratulating us with the great Holiday of Our Ukrainian Easter Eggs etc., all of these e-mails being written on the days of the Holy Week. The senders attached pictures of eggs, birds, spring, and happy people in Ukrainian national costumes.

I don't want to sound as if I were judging people, but this is so weird, so weird... What can be done to return to the people the notion that there exist Christ, His Church, and yes - FASTS... and that it is blatantly un-Christian to engage in festivities and congratulations on the days of the Holy Week with its strict fast, mourning, spiritual silence? 
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LizaSymonenko
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2009, 03:31:04 PM »


That's very sad to hear.

I would say that these people are more "Ukrainian" than "Orthodox"....and to them Pascha is just another holiday, a reason to celebrate.

However, I cannot believe it is so with all Ukrainians.  I am certain that the majority fasted all the way through to Pascha and did not celebrate before time. 

My mother tells me how when she was little and it was forbidden to even mention "God", her mother would squirrel away handfuls of flour all year and save it to bake a paska bread for Pascha.  Her grandmother would wash out all the pots and pans before Lent.  Scrub them down with sand to ensure no "fat" remained.

I have to say that Communism took it's toll on society.  People conformed, and have lost that deep belief.  But not all.  The Faith is still there, and it will rekindle.  The grandparents will teach their grandchildren.  The priests will teach their flocks.

The "disunity" in the Church doesn't help, either.  Too many Patriarchs spoil the broth.
Moscow should guide the Russian peoples, in Russia, and allow the Ukrainians to have their own "Ukrainian" hierarchy!


Christ is Risen!
Христос Воскрес!


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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2009, 03:57:56 PM »

Congratulations! You're just going through with Pascha what we in the US have gone through all our lives with Christmas.
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monkvasyl
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2009, 04:14:56 PM »


The "disunity" in the Church doesn't help, either.  Too many Patriarchs spoil the broth.
Moscow should guide the Russian peoples, in Russia, and allow the Ukrainians to have their own "Ukrainian" hierarchy!

Christ is Risen!
Христос Воскрес!



As one priest said, with all this disunity, the Protestants are having a field day.
.
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FrChris
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Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2009, 04:33:19 PM »

What can be done to return to the people the notion that there exist Christ, His Church, and yes - FASTS... and that it is blatantly un-Christian to engage in festivities and congratulations on the days of the Holy Week with its strict fast, mourning, spiritual silence? 

Heorhij,

First off, let me assure you that I understand where you are coming from. The world in which we live in is so divorced from that which we know to be right, true, and beautiful it causes my heart to ache.

But, when faced with these dilemmas that are only dilemmas because we choose to live a Christian life, then we must turn to the foundation of our Christian life to solve these problems. We need to love those we meet who have forgotten why we celebrate Pascha, and love them so much that they realize they want to join us in that love.

Because love only invites and never compels, we need to love those folks into joining us becoming living examples of Christians. This means all of us should never give in to despair or be discouraged, but instead we need to:

-Pray for those who truly do not know what they are doing is not right by concentrating on the Springtime that Easter falls in, instead of the new rebirth that the Resurrection brings us. Because prayer is love in action, prayer is definitely the right thing to do.

-We also must remember to fast, because fasting helps us to love (as you know from my endless and repetitive sermons!). Fasting also sets us apart from others and may help prompt questions from those who don't understand how important it is for us to do this, and then we can introduce them to Love Itself, who is Christ.

-And, give alms as we can. This is also love, and besides taking care of those who are fiscally disadvantaged, we also need to include those who are spiritually disadvantaged, such as your friends who just don't know that there is more to Pascha than happy birds and brightly colored eggs. The Spirit will create an opportunity for you to share with you your faith sometime in the future, and when doing so remember to be loving as you share, and not authoritarian.

You are not an authoritarian person, Heorhij, but sometimes when we are asked about our faith we fumble things by becoming all 'high and mighty' and sounding like we are experts in this topic, when all we are is messengers, not the message itself.

Never give up, Heorhij, because if the foundation of our Christian faith is love, then hope also follows. Despair should be foreign to us, and so we have to keep trying to love, even to our last breath.
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LizaSymonenko
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009, 04:41:13 PM »


Christ is Risen!

Wow!

Father Chris!  That was so beautifully said!  I wish I could hear some of your sermons!

I nominate your post for Post of the Month!

I am going to print off your words, and share them, if you don't mind.

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Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria
mike
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2009, 05:01:42 PM »

Feasting actually started on the Great and Holy Friday, April 17. On that day, newspapers (!) began to publish congratulations "with the upcoming Holiday" from various people and organizations. All these congratulations, of course, contained the words, "Christ Is Risen!" And the text of these congratulations inevitably contained all kinds of rhetoric about happiness, prosperity, renewal, spring, and of course our great Ukrainian nation, culture and traditions (especially if the authors were from the "nationalistic" Western Ukraine). On the Great and Holy Saturday, the flood of these congratulations increased. Newspapers published huge colored pictures of the traditional Ukrainian "pysanky," Easter eggs, and photographs of city streets and various institutions decorated with Pascha decorations; the athmosphere was absolutely feast-like, triumphant, and completely secular. By the Pascha Sunday, it seems, everyone had already congratulated everyone and the celebration kind of went down.

In Poland there is a very similar situation every year.
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Heorhij
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2009, 05:57:36 PM »

What can be done to return to the people the notion that there exist Christ, His Church, and yes - FASTS... and that it is blatantly un-Christian to engage in festivities and congratulations on the days of the Holy Week with its strict fast, mourning, spiritual silence? 

Heorhij,

First off, let me assure you that I understand where you are coming from. The world in which we live in is so divorced from that which we know to be right, true, and beautiful it causes my heart to ache.

But, when faced with these dilemmas that are only dilemmas because we choose to live a Christian life, then we must turn to the foundation of our Christian life to solve these problems. We need to love those we meet who have forgotten why we celebrate Pascha, and love them so much that they realize they want to join us in that love.

Because love only invites and never compels, we need to love those folks into joining us becoming living examples of Christians. This means all of us should never give in to despair or be discouraged, but instead we need to:

-Pray for those who truly do not know what they are doing is not right by concentrating on the Springtime that Easter falls in, instead of the new rebirth that the Resurrection brings us. Because prayer is love in action, prayer is definitely the right thing to do.

-We also must remember to fast, because fasting helps us to love (as you know from my endless and repetitive sermons!). Fasting also sets us apart from others and may help prompt questions from those who don't understand how important it is for us to do this, and then we can introduce them to Love Itself, who is Christ.

-And, give alms as we can. This is also love, and besides taking care of those who are fiscally disadvantaged, we also need to include those who are spiritually disadvantaged, such as your friends who just don't know that there is more to Pascha than happy birds and brightly colored eggs. The Spirit will create an opportunity for you to share with you your faith sometime in the future, and when doing so remember to be loving as you share, and not authoritarian.

You are not an authoritarian person, Heorhij, but sometimes when we are asked about our faith we fumble things by becoming all 'high and mighty' and sounding like we are experts in this topic, when all we are is messengers, not the message itself.

Never give up, Heorhij, because if the foundation of our Christian faith is love, then hope also follows. Despair should be foreign to us, and so we have to keep trying to love, even to our last breath.

Thank you so much for this, Father Chris. Very good pastoral advice. I promise, I will make sure to include those our relatives who sent us those congratulations, in my daily prayer rule.
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