Kiev, August 20, 2019
Despite the persecution against it from the state and schismatic nationalists in recent years, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church continues to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and grow under the leadership of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
The 5th anniversary of His Beatitude’s enthronement as primate, which took place on August 17, 2014, was celebrated on Saturday at the Kiev Caves Lavra. The date was also celebrated with hierarchs and representatives from throughout the Orthodox world in June in conjunction with Met. Onuphry’s name’s day.
His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Church, summed up the results of Met. Onuphry’s ministry thus far at a briefing dedicated to the anniversary, reports the Information Center of the UOC.
Met. Anthony noted that in the present difficult times for the Church, Met. Onuphry shows everyone how a believer should be. “Such a person—deeply believing, honest with himself, devoted to the service of the Church, devoted to the vows given when he accepted monasticism—precisely such a person was necessary to show us all how a believer should be. And this is an example to everyone who wears bishop’s vestments, who is a priest, and who is a simple Orthodox believer,” Met. Anthony said, calling His Beatitude “a symbol of prayer, of the power of standing for pure faith and canonical order for all of Orthodoxy.”
Earlier, His Eminence Metropolitan Athanasius of Limassol of the Cypriot Orthodox Church said in an interview: “I’m very impressed, and I very much admire how Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev has handled this crisis: with great calmness, with great dignity, with few words, with few statements, and with many prayers.”
According to Met. Anthony, despite the hundreds of churches that have been forcefully seized and illegally reregistered in recent years, and especially since the Patriarchate of Constantinople invaded the Church’s canonical territory, the Church continues to grow. As of late June, 85 churches had been seized and another 222 reregistered since the creation of the schismatic “Orthodox Church of Ukraine.”
Over the past five years under Met. Onuphry, the number of bishops has increased by 15 (with 2 apostatizing to the schismatic church) to over 100, the number of parishes by 184, the number of monasteries by 30, and the number of priests by 439 (to a total of 12,409).
Met. Anthony noted that he especially emphasizes the growing number of parishes because, in addition to the seizures and re-registrations, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture also put up a number of obstacles for registering new parishes of the canonical Church. Despite these difficulties, the Church continues to grow.
Additionally, 16 ascetics of piety, confessors and martyrs of the 20th century, were canonized by the Ukrainian Church over the past 5 years.
Met. Anthony also noted that 15 people have been released from captivity with the participation of the UOC and at the initiative of Met. Onuphry. The Holy Synod also created a commission to work on the issue of releasing prisoners at its July session.
“His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry loves his Ukrainian people and gives his entire life, all his talents for every Ukrainian to find his path to God and Heaven—the purpose for which the Lord created every person,” Met. Anthony said in conclusion.
The cross procession on July 27, in honor of St. Vladimir the Great and the Baptism of Rus’ has also grown by leaps and bounds under Met. Onuphry, attracting 250,000 faithful last year and 300,000 this year.