Ukraine, March 18, 2019
The hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church were out in force yesterday, sanctifying the streets of their cities and towns with cross processions in honor of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, when the Church commemorates the great triumph over the iconoclasts and proclaims the truth of the one Orthodox Church.
More than 20,000 Ukrainian faithful participated in cross processions in Odessa, Zaporozhye, and Rivne. More than 10,000 participated in the procession in Odessa alone, reports the diocesan press service.
Following the Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa at the city’s Holy Transfiguration Cathedral, clergy and parishioners from throughout the city began to arrive at the church, with the citywide procession beginning at noon with a prayer for peace in Ukraine and the welfare of its pious people.
More than 10,000 pilgrims came out bearing holy icons and relics and the holy Cross, singing Church hymns. Following the procession, Met. Agafangel read a prayer for the preservation of Ukraine from all troubles and sorrows, after which he addressed those gathered with an archpastoral word, emphasizing the importance of preserving the holy Orthodox faith.
At the same time, a large procession made its way through the central streets of Zaporozhye with the miraculous Kasperov Icon of the Mother of God, led by His Eminence Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol, reports the diocesan press service.
A number of Cossacks participated in the procession, showing their strong faith in the protection of the Mother of God and their loyalty to the true Ukrainian Church.
The procession made its way to the Holy Protection Cathedral where the rite of the Triumph of Orthodoxy was celebrated. Met. Luke also addressed the crowd with a word on the importance of preserving the unity of the holy Orthodox Church.
“Remember what the holy Apostle Paul said: And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit Which is given unto us (Rom. 5:3-5). I wish all of us strength of spirit on this saving path of Great Lent, and that our souls, having accomplished the feat of repentance, would become real lamps, light to this world,” Met. Luke said, encouraging his flock.
Several thousands of faithful also took part in the cross procession in Rivne, led by the diocesan vicar His Grace Bishop Pimen of Dubenske, with the blessing of the ruling hierarch His Eminence Metropolitan Bartholomew of Rivne and Ostrog.
The faithful from the city and the surrounding region processed nearly 2 miles bearing the patronal icons of all of the churches of Rivne and the miraculous icons of the diocesan monasteries.
The procession ended at St. George’s Cathedral courtyard, where a solemn moleben of the Triumph of Orthodoxy was celebrated, after which Bp. Pimen addressed the faithful with an archpastoral word.
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