Holy Mount Athos, July 23, 2016
On July 22 the primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All the Ukraine together with the official delegation of UOC MP visited the Holy Kinot of Mt. Athos, reports a spokesman of the Afonit.info website.
The Protos of Mt. Athos Father Varnava welcomed the UOC MP delegation at the Holy Kinot administrative building. In his speech he noted that visits of the primate and hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to Mt. Athos are always a great joy for the Athonite brethren. The Protos stressed that since time immemorial the brotherhood of Mt. Athos has been multinational and each nation has contributed to the development of the spiritual treasury of the Athonite monasticism. He said that this year the St. Painteleimon’s Monastery is celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the Russian monastic presence on Holy Mount Athos in connection with which His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia recently visited Mt. Athos, and that event was a true blessing for the Athonites. Now another special blessing is the visit of the primate and bishops of UOC MP to Holy Mount Athos.
Metropolitan Onufry on behalf of the UOC MP hierarchs thanked the Protos for his cordial welcome and prayers and pointed out that today the Ukraine especially needs prayers for the peace in this country. The Metropolitan of Kiev also noted the close spiritual, cultural and historical ties with Mt. Athos from the time of the Kievan Russia (Rus’), when 1000 years ago St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves and other ascetics brought the experience of monastic life and culture from Mt. Athos, and the Orthodox tradition of Kievan Russia was founded on this tradition. According to Metropolitan Onufry, a fruit of that tradition is the famous Kiev Caves Lavra, which was founded by the Athonite ascetic St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves (commemorated July 23).
The chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary; Abbot of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves Lavra Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl; Abbot of the Holy Dormition Pochaev Lavra Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev; Abbot of the Holy Dormition Svyatogorsk Lavra Metropolitan Arseny of Svyatogorsk; and chairman of the Synodal Information and Education Department Bishop Clement of Irpen took part in the meeting at the Holy Kinot of Mt. Athos as well.
Towards the end of the meeting the parties exchanged gifts. Metropolitan Onufry presented the Protos of Holy Mount Athos with an icon of All Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves, while Protos Fr. Varnava presented the UOC MP primate with a copy of the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God called, “Of Mount Athos” and gave presents to all bishops and other UOC MP delegation members.
After the official meeting at the Kinot the UOC MP delegation proceeded to the principal church of Mt. Athos of Protaton, where they venerated the “It Is Truly Meet” wonderworking icon of the Mother of God that is kept there. During the prayer and veneration at the Protaton the choir of the Kiev Theological Academy sang the hymn, “It is truly meet,” and the song of praise to the Mother of God.
On the same day the UOC MP delegation members paid a visit to the ancient Iveron Monastery, where everyone prayed before the wonderworking Iveron icon of the Most Holy Theotokos, after which they returned to St. Panteleimon Monastery.
According to Metropolitan Onufry, the hierarchs of UOC MP arrived to Holy Mount Athos in order to commemorate the Venerable Father Anthony of the Kiev Caves (feasted on July 23) who had become a monk at the most ancient Russian Athonite monastery, Xylourgou, and to take part in the celebrations in honor of the 1000th anniversary of the Russian monastic presence on Mt. Athos.
From July 22 to 23 at the Holy Protection Cathedral of St. Panteleimon’s Monastery His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry headed the All-Night Vigil to St. Anthony of the Kiev Caves and All Venerable Russian Athonite Fathers. After that, with icons from Mt. Athos and together with a delegation of Athonite monks, he was to depart for Kiev where on July 27-28 celebrations marking the 1000th anniversary of the Russian monasticism on Mt. Athos are to be held.
(Photos by Sergei Shumilo).