Reverend Serhii DMYTRIEV: Strong God! It's Your strength that we need these days

With Reverend Serhii Dmytriev, head of the social ministry of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, chaplain of the 30th mechanized brigade named after Prince Kostiantyn Ostrozkyi, we talked about ... the world. This was a few days before the war. The theme of peace is still relevant, however, in a different, deeper context. Only now we are going to him because of the pain of loss, the atrocities of the occupying troops, the ruins of our homes. Therefore, about the values of the world in answers to questions that have not lost their relevance and in excerpts from the Facebook diary of the priest's war (https://www.facebook.com/dmitrievsergii).

"Must understand the price of LIFE and FREEDOM"
February 24
Now more than ever we must be ONE! As never before, we must understand the price of LIFE and FREEDOM!
Only together we will overcome the enemy, win and be free!
Although this excerpt from the movie "Braveheart" was written by the screenwriters, but for us these words should be a call to Freedom:
“I see here a whole army of my compatriots defying tyranny. You have come to fight like free people!
You are free people.
Can you live without freedom?
The one who fights may die.
And the one who runs away will still live for some time.
But even many years later, dying in your beds, you will joyfully give all the years of your life for the only chance to return here and declare to the enemies that they can take your life, but not your freedom!
- Reverend Serhii, in 2014, some Christians evaded the call, they say, they keep the commandment "Thou shalt not kill!"...
- For me, the answer to this question is very simple: if the troops killed, they would be prosecuted for the murder! There is such a profession - defender of the fatherland. It is the same as other professions: a doctor, a policeman, a firefighter, a teacher ...
If a robber breaks into your apartment / house at night or even during the day, what will you do?!
Here is the answer to this question. Everything else is manipulation.
Another thing: if Ukraine attacked some country, then I would not be at the front.

"A man without faith - as without a shield - is naked"
February 26, OCU’s post on the page of the Reverend Serhii Dmytriev.
The chaplain at the front represents a kind of good power, God's power, which may not act directly, but whose presence brings peace: “We are a nation that especially relates to God. He is constantly in our hearts, temples, in our traditions, culture. Each position has a paper prayer and icons. That soldier may have read this prayer once, but God is still close to us, the chaplain explains. - When we were children, and there were parents or an older brother at home, we didn’t have to be played with. They were just present and that made it calm. So presence plays an important role.”
– In dark, troubled times, the need of God increases? Are there many atheists at the front?
When a person faces danger, he begins to seek God. Also, when you need to make super-important decisions or make a fateful choice.
There are as many atheists at the front as in society: 10-20%. But even some of them in emergencies say, “Well, there must be some higher power!”
A person without faith (I'm not only talking about the Christian faith now) - as if without a shield - is naked. Comparison can be selected and picked.

- Who is trusted more in war: a military psychologist or a chaplain?
I didn't draw parallels. At the front, it matters what kind of person you are.
"Love Conquers All"
March 22
Love conquers all
Love is like fragrant bright flowers in the winter frost
Love is a feeling that has incredible power. Through and thanks, in spite of and for the sake of - we live by love.
During these stormy black days in Ukraine, a large number of defenders and cunning people got married. And all why? For when people love when they unite in one power, the incentive to protect, defend and win increases many times.
After all, only love moves the world, love gives strength and confidence.
Love makes us a monolith, a rock that no one can break.
We will win!
For God is with us and great love and respect for each other!
- The Eleos Ukraine community team www.eleos.com.ua, headed by the HCU, serves internally displaced persons, people with disabilities and lonely elderly. And also - to cancer patients, drug addicts, HIV-infected, orphans, demobilized from the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and their families ... So, as a priest, I constantly meet with someone else's pain. Someone else's pain develops empathy and sympathy in me, teaches me to accept a person and allows me to go a certain path with him.
- Yes, recently you were on the phone with my friend, who was dying of cancer in a hospice in Ivano-Frankivsk. And when she went to Heaven, you wrote on your FB page saying to her that she should emerge Viktorious from all this, no matter what the finale of her story will be ...
– It is important that a person joins the prayer, finds God, feels Him. A priest, one might say, is like a waiter in a restaurant just setting the table. He can be a witness to a conversation-prayer, but not an intermediary.
Of course, I feel bad too. Somehow I felt internally empty, exhausted. I went to Veterano Pizza in Kyiv, where I met seven of my friends, and also a military psychotherapist - he gave me this psychotherapy session. (laughs). It let go right away. Such meetings are sent by God, supporting in every possible way. The Lord loves us!
"Don't Lose Your Humanity"
11th of March
We fight not because we hate those in front of us, but because we love those behind us!
Roman Shukhevych

- “But I say to you: love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Is it easy for you to do this and preach it as for a priest serving at the front? For you, is there a contradiction between patriotism and this all-encompassing Love, which is the essence of Christianity?
I don't see anything wrong with patriotism.
Apparently I'm not perfect. I would like to do everything out of love. The words you quoted from the New Testament for me mean not to lose humanity in relation to those who offend us. Like the prisoners, for example. I see how our warriors treat them according to a code of honor.
Forgiving enemies does not mean opening all prisons, releasing prisoners, removing the justice system... And then what? The Bible is not about that.
You can forgive when the offenders realize their guilt, repent, ask for forgiveness and meet halfway.
To forgive when you are beaten is to allow yourself to be humiliated, destroyed. I work with women who suffer from domestic violence. I am against them returning to those who offended them, enduring, forgiving. Yes, you can't!
When Christ was beaten by Roman soldiers, He asked: "Why did you hit me?" In the original it sounds like a claim. Jesus was outraged when he was beaten for no reason.
Therefore, we must be indignant, talk about injustice, defend ourselves.
If we talk about forgiveness, then, obviously, it should be such repentance as that of Zacchaeus, the head of publicans, that is, tax collectors. When he met Jesus, he promised to give back fourfold to everyone he had ever offended while collecting duties and taxes.
But obviously our enemies need to meet Christ first!
“Lord, I ask Your justice for Ukraine”
March 4
Strong God!
We need Your strength these days.
To believe in Viktory, to support brothers and sisters, to fight for our land, our language, the peace of our children and mothers. I ask You, give us the strength that will help us rise after falls, wipe our tears, clench our teeth, forget about pain and move forward - daily, hourly, every minute to protect our home, our Ukraine. Our fields, groves, gardens, our cities and villages.
I ask You more, good God, for the forces necessary to protect our sons and daughters who are hiding in bomb shelters, shuddering from Russian explosions, crying in horror.
Give us the strength to protect them from the invaders, to return peace and joy to their lives.
Lord, I know that You are a just God. I ask Your justice for Ukraine, a fair punishment for the enemy who came to our land.
You see how Your people suffer from the sons of the evil one. Protect, defend, grant peace, instill in our hearts faith in Viktory, the love of Ukrainians for each other, the hope that peace will soon reign in our country.
We believe in You, we trust in You. May our hands be strong, our hearts be calm, our minds strong, faith in unshakable Viktory. We have nowhere to retreat, we have nowhere to run, we are on our own land, at home.
Thank you for this day.
With You we can do everything, with Your strength and blessings we go to Viktory.
The interview was held with the assistance of the Peace and Development Foundation . The goal of the Peace and Development Foundation  is to develop education and innovation for the future of the country.
Photo from the archive of the Reverend  S. Dmytriev