Pochaev, June 14, 2019
The faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church have a true and inspiring relationship with God, Archimandrite Nektarios (Babopoulous), the Secretary of the Cypriot Tamassos Diocese, believes.
Having visited the faithful of several parish communities that lost their churches to violent seizure by schismatic activists, Fr. Nektarios was taken by how their sufferings have led to their spiritual ascent, he said in a video recorded at the Holy Dormition-Pochaev Lavra and published on the Ukrainian Church’s Facebook page on Tuesday.
“I was struck as a priest, struck by that faith, that reverence of your faithful whom I have seen. It is evident that the difficulties the devil is creating within the Church give the faithful the opportunity to develop and ascend spiritually, to experience their relationship with God more strongly,” Fr. Nektarios said, noting that he experienced tenderness and felt a special grace when he served in a village hut with one community that had lots its church.
“My personal contact with the parishioners and with the residents of these parishes has convinced me that these people have a deep faith, that they are loyal to the Church, that they trust the Church, that they believe in their Church… I truly experienced tenderness, experienced a special grace and saw faith, the strong faith of the believers. This all happened during the Divine Liturgy with special reverence and thanksgiving,” Archimandrite Nektarios added.
He will return to Cyprus enriched by his experience in Ukraine, Fr. Nektarios said in conclusion, to pass it on to the faithful there and report to them what is truly happening in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
On June 6, the feast of the Ascension, Fr. Nektarios visited several communities in the Rivne Diocese that have suffered the loss of their churches. The next day, he visited persecuted communities in the Volyn Diocese, and in the Ternopil Diocese the day after that.
Fr. Nektarios assured the faithful that they are the children of the only canonical Ukrainian Church and that the Orthodox Church supports them and is looking for a way to solve the ongoing crisis.
On Sunday, June 9, the Cypriot archimandrite served at the Pochaev Lavra with representatives from the Serbian and Polish Churches, in addition to the abbot His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev and local Ukrainian clergy. Fr. Nektarios assured Met. Vladimir of the brotherly love and unity between the Ukrainian and Cypriot Churches and expressed his belief that the schismatics would eventually return to the canonical Church.
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