All divisions, schisms are a wound on the Body of Christ. The Church is united not because of the ability of people to unite, but because of one God - Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit - who calls everyone to unity in the Church of Christ. In these words, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Father and Head of the UGCC, explained what it means to believe that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
First of all, His Beatitude Sviatoslav spoke about the divine origin of the Church. According to him, it is the fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit, the third person of God.
In essence, the Church is not so much a structure as a community of people "called by God, redeemed by the Blood of Christ, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit." "When we say that we are going to church, it means first of all that we are going to create a community, whom our Heavenly Father convenes on a certain day, and especially on Sunday," the UGCC Head said.
His Beatitude then explained the significance of the four marks that characterize the Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
“Christ founded one Church. It is the sacrament of the unification of the whole human race… The Church is united not because of the ability of people to unite, but because of the one God - Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit - who calls everyone to unity in Christ's Church.”
He also mentioned the reason for the division of the single Church into different denominations. According to him, this is a sign of man's sin against the action of the Holy Spirit, and all divisions and schisms are a wound on the Body of Christ.
Similarly, the Church of Christ is holy, as His Beatitude Sviatoslav explained, not because all who belong to the community of God's people are saints, but because in that community, in that Body of Christ, there is only one saint - the Lord God. "The holiness of God is the source of the holiness of the Church," he added.
Speaking about the catholicity of the Church, His Beatitude noted that it is a Church for all, a universal Church, which calls to unity all peoples, different cultures and languages in different parts of the globe. "The catholicity of the Church can be seen when we gather together around the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, when Christians gather together in their local Councils, or when bishops from all over the world gather together in the Ecumenical Council," he said in the catechesis.
Separately, the Head of the UGCC explained the importance of the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, who is a servant of the unity of the Catholic Church.
Explaining the fourth characteristic of the Church, her apostolic nature, the Father and the Head of the UGCC emphasized that the Church not only preserves the memory of the apostles, their faith and the teachings they received from Jesus Christ. She passes it on undamaged and undiminished to this day and will do so until the end of the age.
In addition, the Head of the Church stressed the importance of the laity, who are the largest part of the Church community.
“Lay people are believers who have been baptized, received the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Сonfirmation, and whose mission is to preach the Word of God in this world through their life. His Beatitude Sviatoslav also added that the bishops should serve "so that the laity may be comforted by the fullness of the graces of the Holy Spirit."
"May the Church of Christ, one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, be the source of our salvation," His Beatitude Sviatoslav wished, recalling the phrase of St. Cyprian: ‘He cannot have God for his father who has not the Church for his mother.’”
We invite you to a fascinating spiritual journey through the Nicene-Constantinople "Symbol of Faith" together with the Father and the Head of our Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav! Join us every Saturday at 9 pm on the YouTube channel and Facebook page of "Zhyve Television"!
The UGCC Department for Information