On January 27, 2023, Archbishop Viktor (Kotsaba) noted that “today, every Orthodox church is a place where the greatest Sacrament is performed in the life of believers and the whole world. This is the Sacrament of the Eucharist. That is why believers perceive with great pain and sorrow any acts related to the desecration of holy churches.” This is stated in the publication on the website politica.com.ua.
“It really hurts us when someone tries to take the temple by force, breaking down the doors of the shrine. It hurts our hearts when someone treats the temple with disdain and allows himself free and dissolute behavior under its domes. It also hurts us deeply when churches, in the words of our Lord, instead of a house of prayer are turned into “dens of robbers” (Matt. 21:12-13),” the bishop noted.
He drew attention to the fact that “something similar happened a few days ago, when a concert was held in the Refectory Church of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, which the state returned to its balance since the beginning of this year, stopping the use of it by the UOC. And it’s not even about the words of those songs that sounded in the ancient Ukrainian shrine. The fact is that such an entertainment event in the temple deeply hurts the religious feelings of believers, demonstrates contempt for them, which has already caused a sharp public reaction ranging from surprise to indignation. We are talking not only about the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, but also about all Christians in Ukraine. The shrine should be used exclusively for its intended purpose, which consists in daily prayer, in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and other Sacraments of the Church.
Archbishop Victor is convinced that “the fear of God must prevail over everything else, because it is written in Holy Scripture: “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord” (Ps. 110, 10). This is important to remember during the war. Now every Ukrainian needs help and support from God. We will be able to defeat the aggressor only if the Almighty Lord is with us. And He helps the righteous, gives strength to those who honor Him, and do not defame Him. God abides steadfastly with those who abide constantly with him.”
“Recently, one of the Athos monks, when asked by a Ukrainian pilgrim what exactly needs to be done to win, answered: “Be in the Truth of God.” And this is an indisputable fact,” the bishop stressed.
Finally, he remarked that “in the face of history and our glorious ancestors, we are simply obliged to make sure that no one can ever accuse us of disrespectful attitude to the shrine or disregard for our ancestral faith.”