It is my pleasure and honour to greet you for the first time as the episcopal head of the Department of Maritime Apostolate for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

As we approach the celebration of the Feast of the Birth of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, be assured of my prayers, for all you who labour in merchant ships scattered over the world’s oceans and also for your families at home in Ukraine, who keenly feel your absence especially at Christmas.  We also pray for the safety of Ukrainian seamen sailing the waters of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait at this time of heightened aggression against Ukraine from the Russian Federation.

In the Gospel account of the Nativity of Christ, we read that the Magi were led by the Star of Bethlehem to the place where the Christ child lay in a manger in Bethlehem.  The Magi were foreigners from a distant land carrying precious gifts to present to the Child.  They didn’t know where to begin to look but they followed a bright star in the heavens.  In Matthew’s Gospel we read: “Behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.”  (Mt. 2:9)

Until recently, seafarers as well, always relied on the stars of the night sky to guide them across the vast, unknown and fearful expanse of the oceans.  But clouds could often hide the stars from their eyes leaving them floundering in the middle of the ocean.  More than one seafaring vessel met a tragic end because the stars were hidden from view.

At Christmas we celebrate the birth on earth of He who is the eternal Star that illumines every darkness, the Light that always shines and never fails to aid all who look to Him for guidance - Jesus Christ, the Son of God!  May the light of Christ illumine and warm our hearts with joy, love and peace now and always.  May the newborn Son of God bless, guide and protect each you, your families and the vessels upon which you labour.


Christ is Born!  Glorify Him!


Maritime Bishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church


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