Mt. Athos, July 10, 2019
One Athonite monastery had a triple celebration on Sunday, as a new church was opened in addition to the feast of the Nativity of the holy Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist of the Lord, John and that of the Byzantine New Martyrs and Confessors.
The new church at Dochariou Monastery, one of the Holy Mountain’s 20 ruling monasteries, is named in honor of the Mother of God “Assuage My Sorrows,” and was built as a pious offering of the Ukrainian faithful, reports Afonit.info.
The church was built with the blessing of the previous abbot, Archimandrite Gregory (Zumis) of blessed memory, who offered Ukrainian pilgrims in 2017 to build a church in his monastery. They responded that they would like it to be dedicated to the Mother of God, and Archim. Gregory chose the Assuage My Sorrows Icon for its official dedication.
In particular, the church was built with donations from the family of the People’s Deputy V. I. Balogi, the family of V. Kolischak, Deacon Rostislav Balikhansky, L. Birova, M. Bretsko, M. Kasinets, V. Petevki, I. Lilik, I. Kopin, and E. Kukoba.
Also among the donors were His Eminence Metropolitan Theodore of Mukachevo and Uzhgorod, and Vladimir Telizhenko, who coordinated the process of interaction between the monastery and the architectural firms on behalf of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s pilgrimage center, which he also heads.
Abbot Gregory gave his blessing to build the church in the spring of 2017, and construction began already in the fall. The choice of the construction site, the development of the architectural layout of the church, and the actual construction work was all carried with the direct participation and control of Abbot Gregory, who unfortunately did not live to see its completion, having reposed on October 22 of last year.
The opening of the new church began with an early-morning procession with part of the head of St John the Baptist, relics of various Byzantine New Martyrs and Confessors, a piece of the Honorable Wood of the Cross, the head of St. Theodore Graptus, relics of various confessors from the iconoclast period, and relics of the martyrs Panteleimon and Paraskeva from the main monastery to the church.
A moleben for the blessing of the waters was celebrated in the new church by the abbot Archimandrite Amphilochios, and the first Liturgy in the new church by the monastery dean Hieromonk Gabriel.
The service was attended by the aforementioned donors Met. Theodore and Deacon Rostislav, as well as other donors and pilgrims from throughout Ukraine.
Speaking to the gathered faithful at trapeza following the services, Abbot Amphilochios thanked the Ukrainian pilgrims, noting the importance of preserving the unity of the Orthodox and expressing hope that the Holy Spirit would breathe peace and unity into our hearts.
He also noted that the brethren of the monastery took an active role in the construction of the church, inspired by their reposed elder Archim. Gregory. “We will not mention their labors, the drops of sweat, their work both within and outside the schedule, and their occasional nighttime vigils in building this chapel. Let us recall only the words of our dear ever-memorable elder Gregory, said in a different context, but quite fitting here: ‘This church was actually built by angels.’”
“May the Mother of God, who ever assuages the sorrows of those who turn to her, fill the hearts of all Orthodox with peace, wherever they may be,” Fr. Amphilochios concluded.
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