Banchensk, Ukraine, January 15, 2018
After celebrating the Divine Liturgy yesterday at the Holy Ascension Monastery in Banchensk in southwestern Ukraine, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine visited the children of the monastery’s medical rehabilitation center “Faith, Hope, and Love” and orphanage in the village of Molitsa, reports the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
There are about 200 children being taken care of at the monastery’s center. Monastery abbot and vicar of the Chernivtsi Diocese Bishop Longin (Zhar) began adopting children in the early 1990s, and in 2008 was awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine for his outstanding care for orphans.
His Beatitude was accompanied by Metropolitan Meletius of Chernivtsi and Bukovina, Bp. Longin, Bishop Eusebius of Shepetivka and Slavutsk, and Bishop Benjamin of Khotyn.
Such visits to the children’s homes in Bukovina have already become traditional for the Ukrainian primate. His Beatitude visits children who require special attention and care several times a year.
The children sang carols and spiritual canticles for the metropolitan, and His Beatitude congratulated the children and their caregivers with the Nativity holidays.
“The newborn Christ has brought to the Earth joy and hope for eternal life and salvation; therefore, may the grace of the Christ Child ever be with you, embrace you on all the paths of your life, and heal you and protect you from all hardships!” His Beatitude wished the children.
Met. Onuphry ended his visit by giving each child a gift and offering his primatial blessing.
His Beatitude also received children and their caretakers from four children’s homes at his residence at the Kiev Caves Lavra on January 4, wishing the caretakers love, “because love makes a person capable of such a labor.” He also wished the children a feeling of gratitude for those who are taking care of them, and the willingness to help others in their lives.
Later that day, Met. Onuphry also visited children undergoing treatment at the National Cancer Institute, congratulating them with the New Year and the then-coming feast of the Nativity. “I sincerely wish that the Lord would grant health to all the children here,” His Beatitude said, distributing gifts and blessings to all present.