MASIF Lenten Appeal – In Support of Ukraine

Dear Friend of the Sheptytsky Institute,

Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky is our patron for good reason. The father of the modern Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church had a tremendous insight. He saw that the wisdom of the Christian East could form saints, sustain a civil society, and create concord among peoples, nations, and races. He prayed fervently for this wisdom and serves as a model for us today.

Today’s bloodshed in Ukraine is a sin against Divine Wisdom—the dawn from on high that desires to break upon us all and show us the true light, loosening our lips to speak with the boldness of Zachariah, who was moved from silence to speech at the birth of his son, the Forerunner of our Lord (Luke 1: 68-79). We must not be silent in the face of such atrocity. We, who know the Prince of Peace, must speak boldly against this aggression.

The Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies is committed to helping our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. In fact, the MASIF directors have pledged to match every dollar you donate up to $20,000, and to offer the funds in support of humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Through your generosity, the combined donations will be sent to the Special Campaign for Ukraine, established by our partners at the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), the papal agency dedicated to the pastoral and humanitarian care of the Eastern churches. Importantly, donations MASIF sends to CNEWA will be further matched up to $500,000 in support of humanitarian aid in Ukraine (thanks to a generous family in Alberta). This effectively amounts to multiplying your donation towards humanitarian aid in Ukraine by a factor of 4.

You might ask, given the urgency of the moment in Ukraine, what is the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies for? In the face of such urgent need, the cynic may quip, “We need action, not ideas.”

Yet the Sheptytsky Institute exists to contemplate Divine Wisdom, making sure there is a space for Eastern Christianity to form future leaders, with ideas born of wisdom, not ideology. Our professors, students, and associates labor to ensure there is concerted effort to beat swords drawn against Divine Wisdom into ploughshares (Is 2:4). Without the Sheptytsky Institute, we would not have a space to reach into the heart of our tradition, our daily bread that sustains us, even through the most tumultuous temptations.

In this time of Great Lent and of unjust war in Ukraine, we intensify our prayer for the conversion of all and meditate on these words of the Great Canon: “We have sinned, transgressed, done wrong before You. We have not watched or done as You had commanded us. But do not give us up utterly, O God of our fathers” (Ode 7, Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete). It is with our eyes first fixed on the Word of God that we look at the tragedy in Ukraine. Our Lord dares his persecutors to destroy the temple and says he will raise it up in three days. John speaks precisely: “He was speaking about the temple of his body.” (2:19-21). The body of Christ remains victorious through torture and conquers death itself. We, who are the body of Christ on Earth, are nurtured with the same hope.

Though the bombs may befall Ukraine, Christ’s body will never lay broken.