Kiev, June 25, 2019
Representatives from throughout the Orthodox world have gathered in Kiev to celebrate the feast of St. Onuphry the Great—the name’s day of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The gathering is also in honor of the 5th anniversary of His Beatitude’s enthronement as primate, which took place in August 2014, as well as his 75th birthday.
The celebration began with the All-Night Vigil celebrated in the Holy Dormition Cathedral of the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra by Met. Onuphry.
His Beatitude was prayerfully joined by representatives from the Local Churches of Alexandria, Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and the Orthodox Church in America, in addition to numerous clergy and faithful from the Ukrainian Church, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Church.
Following the Vigil, Met. Onuphry personally met with all the delegations that had arrived by that point, thanking them for their support. He also offered gifts to his guests and the primates of their respective Churches.
During the Divine Liturgy for the feast of St. Onuphry the Great today, Met. Onuphry was again concelebrated by hierarchs and representatives from a number of other Local Orthodox Churches: Alexandria, Jerusalem, Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Cyprus, and the Orthodox Church in America.
Other hierarchs of the Cypriot and Czech-Slovak Churches were also present at the service. Following the Divine Liturgy, the representatives of the other Churches read out greetings from the primates of their respective Churches and presented Met. Onuphry with a number of gifts.
A number of visiting hierarchs have also expressed their support for Met. Onuphry and the canonical Church during this time of crisis in the suffering Ukraine. At a press briefing held yesterday, His Eminence Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech (Bulgarian Church) stated that only canonical Church in Ukraine is that headed by Met. Onuphry, where grace is present, and that one cannot be saved in churches without grace. He also said that the Lord has especially appointed Met. Onuphry to lead and preserve the Church in this difficult time.
“We in Bulgaria pray for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, who walks the path of the Grand Prince Vladimir, enlightening and bringing grace to the great Ukrainian people, leading the Church where there is grace,” Met. Gabriel said.
His Eminence Metropolitan Meletios (Church of Alexandria) noted that his presence indicates Met. Onuphry’s support among the Local Churches. “We have come on behalf of our primate and our Church, to testify to our love for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry… Patriarch Theodoros very often speaks about the asceticism and prayerfulness of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, whom the entire Orthodox world knows,” the Alexandrian hierarch testified.
His Grace Bishop Anthony of Moravica (Serbian Church) praised the personal example that Met. Onuphry offers the Church, saying: “For every Orthodox person, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry is an example of piety, monastic struggles, and, as the apostle Paul spoke about light, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry is truly a light between the Orthodox Churches.”
Metropolitan Isaiah of Tamasos (Cypriot Church) stressed that the delegation from his Church “is a testimony to the unity of the Orthodox Churches” and that “today we are here to show personally, not theoretically, our love and respect for His Beatitude.” He also called upon the Ukrainian government to ensure the return of all the seized churches to the canonical Church.
His Grace Bishop Paul (Gainovsky) of the Polish Church and His Eminence Archbishop Michael of Prague of the Czech-Slovak Church also expressed the great love and respect held for Met. Onuphry and the canonical Ukrainian Church within their respective Churches.
Representing the Romanian Orthodox Church, Archpriest John Pcur, the head of the Ukrainian Vicariate of the Romanian Church, noted that Patriarch Daniel and the entire Romanian Synod pray for peace in Ukraine and that Met. Onuphry would continue leading souls to Christ for many years to come.
And representing the Orthodox Church in America, Archpriest Nazary Polatajko expressed deep condolences over the sorrowful events ongoing in Ukraine and highlighted Met. Onuphry as a “primate of love” who “bears his cross with dignity.”
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