May I begin by expressing my sincerest gratitude to God and all those responsible for this gift of unity, enabling all Ukrainians at long last to observe Christmas at one time.  To some extent this is a Christmas miracle. I am looking for more.


In the spirit of Christmas I turn to Pope Francis with two pleas. The first is to help Ukrainian Catholics in the regions of Ukraine occupied by the Russians. Catholic religion has been banned, Catholic clerics detained and tortured. The Pope ,in particular, having reached the ear of both Putin and Kirill in the past needs to speak out in favor of his flock. I am sure the Pontiff prays daily for the plight of Ukrainian Catholics in the occupied regions, but the Lord helps only those who help themselves. A word from the Pope in this regard may not alter Russians godlessness, but it would  positively affect and embolden Ukrainian Catholics and their hierarchy,


My second plea with the Pontiff is also more than personal, but not as immediate as the first. The Ukrainian Catholic Church is the largest Eastern Catholic Church. In fact,  there is little comparison. Yet despite the Pope’s hyperactivity in nominating Cardinals from places far away,  he has deemed not to honor Ukrainian Catholics. Certainly we are deserving and the leader of our Church Archbishop Sviatoslav (I choose to call him my Patriarch) is certainly well known from Argentina by former Cardinal Bergoglio. While  feel that such a nomination is long overdue, I understand that this is a matter of papal discretion so my plea is not in any form a demand but a plea. I am saddened but not offended.


Next I turn my attention to those from the Congress of the United States and the representatives of European Union. Children are dying or being kidnapped in Ukraine, maternity wards and playgrounds not to mention residential wards are being bombed indiscriminately at best and, in fact, deliberately. Let us forget the politics. How does a Christian American or Hungarian accept this without a reaction. I refuse to appeal to Victor Orban who happens to be simply an autocrat and thug bordering on criminality. However I plead with the people of Hungary to look for guidance not with Prime Minister Orban but St. Stephen.


In America I plead with Congressman Mike Johnson, self acknowledged  with a clearly defined Christian devotion that impacts his political adaptations. I refuse to criticise his recessing Congress, with more than two weeks to go. Yet, there are people dying who are dependent on his assistance. My place is not to criticise his good faith activity. That is between him and our mutual Creator. Suffice it to say that his position as well as that of any member of Congress must include a tangible  element of morality. My pleas: Mr. Speaker, come back to Washington in order to negotiate an acceptable solution to the killing of innocents in Ukraine.


Finally my plea is with the Ukrainian communities and personalities within the global community outside Ukraine. Part of my Christian upbringing is the need for introspection. I suggest the same for all of us Ukrainians outside Ukraine. We have much to give in order to help Ukraine which today, given the obvious factor of global communication and accessibility is equal to our own country of residence. There is no excuse for reticence or partisan politics or sitting on your couch and simply pushing buttons on a computer. There is no excuse for your financial tightness. This is a moment as existential for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as any you will ever encounter in your lifetime. Use your skills, your financial wherewithal as much as possible. Do not bemoan the current situation in Ukraine. Moaning and crying is not even the last resort. It is no resort at all.


So wishing everyone a Merry Christmas I have said my piece and, for me, sought my peace. Religion for me is part of my life but very internal and personal. I can attend a Catholic, Orthodox Christian or Protestant church with equal satisfaction. On this holiday, the  Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ which all Ukrainians celebrate together finally,  I am particularly sentimental and introspective. I am convinced that Jesus is on our side. After all He was a hero. He simply wants us to try to do better. In fact,  he insists upon that. Hence my plea.


December 18, 2023                                                                        Askold S. Lozynskyj