Crow: Delving into the history of Ukraine | Local News

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.“ Galatians 6:2

The first part of the column will address suffering, which provides perseverance and leads to hope, and spiritual fruitfulness, which activates the importance of helping suffering people.

Romans 5:1-5 teaches that strength comes through our suffering. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Paul explained that the righteousness of God is provided by his grace for those who believe in Jesus Christ. Through the death of Jesus, believers will find peace with God. Justification means that believers are acquitted of guilt which leads to a relationship with God. This relationship does not eliminate suffering, but provides strength, and God provides endurance and hope.

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During the third week of Lent, we have been encouraged to live a fruitful life of purpose by connecting and serving other people. Finding ways to serve is an act of worship. By opening the church doors and moving into the world to serve, we will be living a fruitful life. The words of Jesus will have an impact far beyond our doorsteps. The seeds from our fruitfulness will produce roots of faith. “Christ’s word will enlighten you; his Body and his Blood will nourish you and sustain you on your daily journey to eternity.” (Pope St. John Paul II)

A reader asked if the Russian/Ukraine conflict was caused by a lack of faith. Both countries have faithful people. The problem arises because the Russian leader claims a right to control Ukraine, and the Ukrainian leader knows that his country is independent. The conflict has caused losses and suffering. The greatest losses are the deaths and injuries of civilians. People are suffering from the lack of food, water and shelters. Along with the physical destruction of homes and infrastructure, the cultural and educational centers are being demolished.

Ukraine’s history is interesting. The capital city of Ukraine, Kyiv, was founded in 482. Orthodox Christianity was formally adopted in the Slavic region in 988 by Vladimir the Great, whose empire covered much of modern-day Ukraine and parts of Russia. Vladimir was a pagan until he converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. In the 17th century, the churches of Russia and Ukraine were ruled by the Moscow-based leadership. In 1917 Ukraine came under the rule of the Soviet Union and communism. During this period, the government persecuted religious activities. On Aug. 24, 1991, Ukraine became an independent state.

Over the centuries, Ukraine provided cultural events by building museums, concert halls, art galleries, opera and ballet houses, theaters and educational centers. Ukraine’s 800 institutes of higher education attract students from many countries. Ukraine has been a center for education since the Ostroh Academy was founded in 1576.

Present-day Ukraine has many religious groups. According to a survey conducted by the Razumkov Centre, 71.7% of the population claim to be believers. The Orthodox Christian Churches have 67.3% of the population. Catholics have 11.32%. Protestant Churches have 1.9% of the population which include Baptists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Seventh-day Adventists, Mennonites, and the Sub-Carpathian Reformed Church. Hindus, Jews, and Muslims have lower percentages. The unaffiliated and the atheists have 11% of the population. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Ukraine)

Religion is an important part of Ukrainian life. We also have witnessed their human values: love of country, each other, freedom and kindness. In happy times, people were outgoing. They loved cultural events and cafe conversations with friends. It is difficult to understand Russia’s determination to destroy Ukraine and sacrifice their own soldiers. If Putin does not stop the race to kill and maim people, wipe out religious, cultural, and educational values, the world should hold him accountable for the rebuilding of Ukraine before any sanctions are recalled. Putin said Russians and Ukrainians are so historically and culturally aligned that they are essentially one people. He should be told to take care of his brothers and sisters and love his neighbors. Pray for the Ukrainians and the people who are helping the refugees.

“Everyone talks about peace but no one teaches peace. In this world, you are educated for competition, and competition is the beginning of every war.” (Maria Montessori)

Earl Crow’s column is published Saturdays in the Winston-Salem Journal. Email him at [email protected]

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