Catholic University of America’s Institute for the Study of Eastern Christianity and its Center for Ukrainian Church Studies, joined the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family in a 14-hour vigil to mark the Jan. 26 Day of Prayer for Peace in Ukraine.
Pope Francis called for the observance in light of a potential military incursion by Russia into Ukraine. “Please, no more war,” he said in his general audience on Jan. 26.
The 14-hour vigil began in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception’s Byzantine Chapel with matins (morning prayer), and then continued with a full cursus of the hours, Noon Divine Liturgy, silent prayers, Akathist to the Cross of Christ, and, finally, vespers led by Rev. Stefanos Alexopoulos, associate professor of liturgical studies, and chanted by members of Catholic University’s Byzantine Student Union.
Simultaneously, the Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family, which is adjacent to the University, held a Divine Liturgy in the morning, followed by private prayer throughout the day, and a closing moleben service of supplication of the Mother of God. Priests, religious, and lay people came to pray throughout the day with others joining virtually.
“The Ukrainian Catholic Church is illegal in Russia and is not allowed to exist despite its several hundred thousand adherents,” said Very Rev. Mark Morozowich, dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at Catholic University.
“My friends in Ukraine want peace and they want freedom. This day of prayer marked a moment for students, faculty, and faithful topray. May each of us find some time to continue to pray for a resolution of the conflict that will enable real peace,” he said, Continuing, “Let us continue to pray and join our cry with that of the Psalmist: ‘The righteous cry out and the Lord hears and rescues them from their troubles’ (Ps 34:17). May our common prayer bring light into the darkness and healing from all brokenness.”
Watch the services at the Basilica on YouTube.Rev. Morozowich is an American priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States and holds a doctorate in Eastern Christian Studies.