KIEV, Ukraine, JUNE 24, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of John Paul II´s discourse before reciting the Angelus today at the conclusion of the Mass at the Chayka airfield near Kiev.
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Before concluding this solemn Eucharistic celebration, let us turn in the prayer of the Angelus to Mary Most Holy, to whom the Ukrainian people are deeply devoted.
Mary, the first and the most perfect disciple of her Son, is a figure and a model of the Church which welcomes the word of the Lord in faith. Her protection has accompanied every step of the Christian community in Ukraine ever since the Baptism of Rus´ in 988.
Bathed by the great river of faith, Ukraine thus became a Christian land and, at the same time, a Marian country. This can be seen in the numerous shrines which express the deep love of the faithful for their heavenly Mother. For the faithful of the Latin Rite I am thinking, in particular, of the Shrines of Berdichiv and of Letichiv. Among the faithful of the Byzantine Rite the Shrines of Zarvanytsia and of Hoshiv are greatly venerated. In mind and heart I wish to visit these places of worship and prostrate myself devoutly at the feet of the Virgin to invoke upon everyone her maternal protection.
To Mary´s heavenly intercession I entrust this my pastoral visit and all those whom I shall meet during these days. In a special way I ask her, Mother of the Church, to hasten the steps of all Christians towards full communion. In Ukraine and throughout the world, may believers in Christ be able as soon as possible to fulfil the heartfelt prayer of the one Lord: “Ut omnes unum sint!” (Jn 17:2). May this take place per Mariam, through Mary, Mother of all believers, Mother of unity!
[Original text: Ukrainian; translation by Vatican]