To the Ukrainians, with Admiration and Gratitude

The war in Ukraine evokes many feelings, the predominant ones being horror and fear. Above all, however, what prevails are feelings of admiration and gratitude for the people and leadership of Ukraine.

Admiration, because these people – contrary to the predictions of “experts” – did not succumb. They did not just bow down to the invaders. Men and women fought bravely and accomplished a miracle: they did not allow the Russians to simply ‘walk’ onto their land, and cross from one end of their country to the other. They did not allow Putin’s army to occupy their capital.

Yes, they have suffered enormous losses in human lives and property. But they also retaliated, inflicting on the Russian as many losses as they could.

The same goes for their leadership. Their President was not highly esteemed before the war. His resume was weak. He had studied law, but made a career and became known as a comedian. So he was not well-prepared to take on the role of wartime leader.

However, he made a decision that, no matter what happens, will rank him among the great patriots: He did not run away. He did not rush to save his skin. (Do you remember how quickly the last prime minister disappeared from Afghanistan before the Taliban took over?)

Zelenskyy stayed, and remains, in his homeland. He inspires his compatriots. He tirelessly and effectively conveys the news of the misfortune that befell them to anyone willing to hear it around the world.

He does his duty.

But I also feel gratitude, because today Ukrainians are sacrificing for the sake of us all.

Because the Ukrainians are proving in practice that there are certain things in life that are worth dying for. Like the homeland – the dignity, history, religion, principles, and values of a people. That is, what many in the West for decades now considered negligible, outdated. But they are wrong – those things are eternal.

There, in Ukraine, you will find where Thermopylae has gone.

Putin will eventually “achieve,” what he called his “noble aims” this week. Whatever
‘success’ looks like to him.

However, he inadvertently awakened the old principles, those psychic forces deep within man that connect him with his past, that turn one’s will to steel and cause one to re-evaluate what he considers sacred in life.

Yes, the world has changed since February 24. How much has changed will only be fully realized after years. Yes, there was a lot of damage and it is certain that there will be even more.

But the men and women of Ukraine, however, have restored the connecting links that bind them with their ancestors.

They proved, as in the past, like the Greeks and all those who fought for Freedom, that when the time comes, they know how to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. In order not to lose what man has won with so many sacrifices over the centuries, beginning with Freedom.


On Wednesday, April 10th, 19 years were completed since the repose of the blessed memory of Archbishop Iakovos of North and South America.

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