NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE - 2002
Hierarchy of the
Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in the USA
Serving the Americas and Western Europe
January 1, 2002
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
At the stoke of midnight this morning, people around the world paused to mark the passing of another year and the beginning of a new. Few events as the yearly passage of time, allow the world to stop in such a way, that all of its citizens may reflect as one people. While we assert that God is timeless and unbound by the restrictions that we ourselves place on life, we also affirm that the calculation of time, expressed by the calendar year, serves to put human life in perspective, to reflect on what we have thus far done or failed to do and to set goals and plans that we hope to accomplish from this point on, each to our own limited ability.
The use of the calendar to mark the passage of time is as old as humankind itself, which has created various ways to memorialize the events of history from the dawn of recorded time. As knowledge of the scientific and astrological theories behind the months and years improved, God instilled in some of the world's most brilliant minds, more accurate ways in which to best measure that which is infinite - the ongoing passage of the moments of our lives. It is humanly reassuring that, despite the wide margin of difference that exists between countries and peoples across the globe, there is one principal reality that binds us together - the unfolding of history within the limits of time, to which we are all mortally subject. This reality is brought to our attention annually, at the beginning of the new year.
Whatever our circumstances are, at home or in transit, wealthy or of average means, young or old, of many races, faiths and convictions, today offers a new beginning and another opportunity for hope. 2002 begins with heavy hearts, as we remember the events of the year that has just ended. Surely, each of us has our own personal and localized memories of the year 2001, both joyful and sad, ones in which we can be proud and situations that we wish would have been different. This is the nature of life, with its accomplishments and failures, its ups and downs.
Few memories of the year we have just completed however, are as far-reaching and all-encompassing as those that we each hold in our hearts, of the eleventh day of September, in the year 2001. While we must try to put all things in perspective and not over-emphasize any one aspect of life, September 11 is a date from which many other events in our futures will take their motivation and gain their meaning. Holding each in our own hearts, the remembrances of where we were and how we felt on that sunny autumn morning, we face the future as a world more closely united, as people of good will with the same hopes and fears and with a much stronger urgency for peace and cooperation among ourselves. We now realize that differences are so slight, when we are confronted with concerns of ultimate value and the survival of life as we know it.
So, our dear friends, let us begin the new year of 2002 by re-committing ourselves to those ideals which will help carry us through another chapter of history called the calendar year. We are reminded of the global nature of these ideals through the observance of the 35th. World Day of Peace. The plea for peace and justice among all people is greater than any other in recent memory. We start another year, realizing that no matter how hard we may try, we cannot go through it alone.
In a way unimagined in previous times, our world is inter-connected by things that happen anywhere and to any kind of person. We cannot choose to ignore the needs of others and still live lives unaffected by our lack of concern. We encourage all of you to live as if your actions are earth-shattering, effective, influential to the future of our race, because in truth, what we do today will be decisive to the course that this new year will take. From our own towns and cities to countries across the world, ours is a corporate life, fragile and yet made strong by the recollective power of history, fresh and new, but still grounded upon past progress as well as mistakes, frightening to a point, but comforted by familiar traditions, singular and personal, yet lived as part of a whole, in necessary cooperation with others.
We wish you all the best of health, happiness and progress in this new year that God has granted us to see arrive. We challenge you to look to the Lord, when facing decisions that will effect the future of yourselves and others around you. We urge all who listen to these words to make peace and harmony among people to be the greatest resolution made on this New Year's Day. If we look at the year just past with any serious reflection at all, may we realize that it takes only one person to bring destruction and suffering, but that many people working together in oneness of mind and purpose, are required to make a change that will have a positive effect on the course of time, on the direction that the world will take in the year 2002 and beyond.
Is God calling us to change so that there can be greater peace and harmony in our own sections of this wide world? As people of faith on a journey through time, the challenge is always there to move beyond where we have been, to grow in faith and love along the course of the days and hours amidst which we live. Time will pass, the world will evolve, regardless of whether we change and grow personally or not. Let us not be left behind by that which is meant to measure our growth both individually and communally - the passage of time.
With personal best wishes and prayerful regards at this dawn of the new year,
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