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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

The day before he was killed while celebrating Mass, Archbishop Oscar Romero made an appeal in his homily, which was being broadcast on radio, to the troops of the National Guard, the police and the garrisons: “Brothers, you belong to our own people. You kill your own peasants; and in the face of an order to kill, the law of God that says ‘Do not kill!’ should prevail. No one has to comply with an immoral law. It is time to recover your conscience and obey its dictates rather than the command of sin… Therefore, in the name of God, and in the name of this long-suffering people, whose laments rise to heaven every day more tumultuous, I beseech you, I beg you, I command you! In the name of God: Cease the repression!”

On Oct. 14, 2018, huge screens were placed around the Saviour of the World Plaza in San Salvador for the crowds of people to watch the canonization ceremony broadcast from St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. We commemorate St. Oscar on March 24 – yesterday.

Yesterday also marked one month of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to the world in a video broadcast to protest against Russian aggression. “Make yourself visible and heard… Say that people matter, freedom matters. Peace matters. Ukraine matters.” All around the world, protest marches and demonstrations are springing up in large cities, suburbs and towns. The yellow and blue flags of Ukraine appear in apartment windows, pasted on cars, and woven as ribbons on lapels. The sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine, has become a symbol of resistance and solidarity.

I am heartened by the way Anglicans in the Diocese of Toronto are finding ways to demonstrate and support, appeal and protest. Prayer services, community fundraisers and refugee committees open doors to welcome those seeking refuge. People matter, freedom matters, peace matters, Ukraine matters – and so does Russia. We know that there is so much at stake, today.

The Greater Toronto Christian Council will be holding a special ecumenical service for peace at St. James Cathedral on Sunday, April 3. The service of Evensong will take place at 4:30 p.m., and we are honoured to welcome the Ukrainian Orthodox Bishop Andriy, Roman Catholic Cardinal Collins, and other Christian leaders and friends to our cathedral. I encourage you also to come in person to the cathedral, or to watch on the Diocese’s YouTube channel, as we offer our prayers to Almighty God – in appeal and in solidarity, for all people, for freedom and for peace.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto