Faithful of Ukrainian parishes seized by schismatics to lead procession in Jerusalem on Holy Friday

Jerusalem, March 29, 2018

Pilgrims carrying wooden crosses enter the Holy Sepulchre Church during the Orthodox Good Friday procession. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP Pilgrims carrying wooden crosses enter the Holy Sepulchre Church during the Orthodox Good Friday procession. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP

Believers from the many parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate that have been seized by schismatics and nationalists will lead a procession along the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem on Holy Friday, praying for peace in their homeland, reports Interfax-Religion.

The Via Dolorosa is the 2,000-ft. path that Christ walked from the place of His trial before Pilate to the place of His Crucifixion, now within the territory of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

As His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, reported at a Tuesday press conference, it is estimated that around 300 people will leave from Gethsemane with a prayer for peace in Ukraine, enter the Old City, and proceed along the path that our Lord walked, bearing the Life-Giving Wood of the Cross on His back.

Orthodox faithful from various regions of Ukraine, including those whose parishes have been illegally seized over the past several years, will take part in the procession. The faithful from such parishes will lead the procession, bearing a large cross and icons of the parishes that have been seized. They will also carry a newly-painted icon of the Synaxis of New Martyrs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

The pilgrims will pray for God’s mercy and the protection of Ukraine from wars, strife, and divisions.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia recently spoke about the persecution that is underway in Ukraine, noting that 50 parishes of the canonical Church have been seized in recent years. The United Nations has agreed with the patriarch that the faithful of the canonical Church in Ukraine are subject to persecution.

“It’s a very difficult situation in Ukraine right now; there’s real persecution against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. 50 churches have been forcefully seized in recent times. There are constant attacks on churches and priests are beaten… There’s shots where a priest in vestments is covered in blood, and they’re calling him an occupier, but he’s a Ukrainian, born in Ukraine, and speaks only Ukrainian. They beat him only because he’s in the canonical Church, which the local authorities call an occupying Church,” the patriarch said in an interview with Bulgarian media.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has also expressed its concern about the constant and systemic attacks against the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, recognizing that the government has launched a campaign of intolerance against the Church.

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