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Social Justice Amid the Coronavirus: Patriarch Sviatoslav's Principles

"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." -Matthew 16:25

On Sunday, March 22nd, Patriarch Sviatoslav preached on the Sunday of the Cross in front of an empty cathedral. He thanked people for staying home, doing their part to prevent the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, COVID-19.


"It may sound strange but today I thank everyone for showing Christian awareness by staying home to care for the health and well-being of society, yourself, and your loved ones," He said, "though our cathedral is empty today, I feel the presence of hundreds of thousands of people from different corners of the globe who are now praying with us"


Invoking the Gospel of Matthew, and the triumph of life over death through the cross, His Beatitude shared several tangible social justice mandates for the Church:


On Healthcare

"Yesterday I saw a photo of a doctor with wounds on his forehead and face after wearing a protective mask. Dear healthcare professionals, you are at the forefront of preparedness. today. Your Church is with you.

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Just as was the case during the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine, our church buildings should become hospitals, if necessary. We, the Church, will save human lives alongside medical professionals."


When hospitals closed during the 2013-2014 Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine, Churches such as this one opened as triage and surgical centers.

On Private Enterprise

“To the owners of private enterprise, small and medium size business: You probably can't sleep today because the global economy is entering into recession. Stock markets are falling, and currencies are devaluing ... I urge you to invest your money in the best investment: saving and protecting human life.

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If you understand your social responsibility today, rest assured you will earn interest in a way that no bank will recognize. Investing in human life will ensure your eternal life, and this is a stock that will remain yours even after death."


On Civil Rights

“I appeal to our authorities. This is a difficult time. Sometimes you have to make unpopular decisions to respond to crises quickly. Know that your Church is with you. But at the same time, I urge you to declare a 'political quarantine.'

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“Do not be tempted to use this quarantine to harass your political opponents or to engage in social repression. Let us embrace all the things that unite us in the face of mortal danger. Let us unite in serving people!”




On Mutual Aid

“Taking up your cross means helping older people stay at home.  As you go to buy food and medicine today, ask yourself, perhaps your neighbor is elderly, infirm, or shut-in and has no one to do that for them. You may save their life.

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“When public transit does not run, help doctors get to work in the morning. Help the people who keep our country running. Love God and your neighbor with your daily actions, even in these unusual circumstances."


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