Pochaev, Ukraine, August 4, 2017
A 5-day international cross procession to the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra in Western Ukraine ended on August 3, with the Pochaev Mother of God Icon to be celebrated on Saturday, August 5. Pilgrims report that upon the entrance to the lavra, at the end of the trek, they saw a cross in the sky, reports the Union of Orthodox Journalists.
A similar phenomenon took place on May 19, when believers gathered outside the Verkhnova Rada in Kiev to protest two religious bills that were to be considered by the Ukrainian parliament. A cross was seen in the sky, and a crucifix brought to the rally began to stream myrrh.
The traditional procession began in Poland and went through Belarus and Ukraine, meeting up with processions beginning from various dioceses along the way. 1,600 pilgrims from Poland, Hungary, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Ukraine, and other countries took part in the holy walk. The cross was captured in a photo by Fr. Vladimir Kovtach.
The 20th annual “Peace, Love, and Prayer for Ukraine” procession began on July 27 from the Ivano-Frankivsk Diocese, heading for the Pochaev Lavra, reports the diocesan site. Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Tikhon of Ivano-Frankivsk and Kolomiya in the morning before the procession of about 250 from the Carpathian region and different parts of Ukraine set out.
More than 300 also set out on July 27 from the Rivne Diocese, following an early Divine Liturgy. The pilgrims carried icons of St. Nicholas, St. Catherine, and a bleeding icon of the Iveron Mother of God with them. The procession made its way through the Volyn Diocese, where they were greeted by His Grace Bishop Nathaniel of Volyn and Lutsk, along with a host of his clergy on July 30. The pilgrims were doused with holy water, with the words “Christ is Risen!” at the entrance of the Holy Protection Cathedral in Lutsk. Divine Liturgy was served in the church the next morning.
The celebration culminates tonight and tomorrow with the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy in honor of the miraculous Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God.