Chernivtsi Province, Ukraine, July 8, 2019
In Bukovina, a traditional region in Western Ukraine, near the Romanian border, many thousands of believers took part in a cross procession of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The participants visited the settlements of Zadubrovka and Vaslovovtsy, in which supporters of the schismatic OCU desire to seize churches of the UOC, as the Union of Orthodox Journalists report.
While their purpose is equal part prayer and pilgrimage, and have been conducted ages before the Ukrainian Church crisis began, Cross processions are among the best opportunities for observers to objectively put to the test the claims that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is small and does not have the support of the people, as the schismatics claim.
The typical claim of schismatics is that because the UOC is a part of the Moscow Patriarchate, the people do not support it, and the churches are empty save for a few grandmothers.
Does this picture look like a church supported by a couple of grandmothers?
This is not a rare event put together for some spectacle, for believers of the canonical church, this is their normal church life, part of an old tradition of cross processions which happen annually throughout the country on different feast days.
This event is in fact the 30th time that this specific cross procession took place in Bukovina and Chernovtsi. The Cross Procession started at around 6 A.M, after a moleben in the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God, and it reached the walls of the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian at 7 P.M. having covered on foot around 40 kilometers.
As they did with the much larger All-Ukrainian Cross Procession in previous years, (which attracts hundreds of thousands), schismatics made every attempt to hinder this procession.
The All-Ukrainian Cross Procession is the largest of all processions which occur in Ukraine, and just like this smaller procession in Bukovina, it also comes under attacks from schismatics.
This is because these processions, regardless of where they happen, constitute perpetual evidence that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the largest religious body in the country, uniting the majority of believers, and is filled with serious and dedicated people, not those seeking political statements.
This amazing video both compares the hundreds of thousands strong procession of the UOC, during the All-Ukrainian procession, with the much smaller one of the schismatics, and also proves how these events are beyond compare.
This is not only due to the size difference, but the prayerful nature of the Church’s procession, vs. the political rally of the schismatics marching not with icons but with national flags and literally screaming “death to enemies”.
Bukovina and Chernovtsi is also the home region of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All-Ukraine, and the fact that both he, this specific cross procession, and many others like it take place in Western Ukraine, only further serve to dispel another myth about the UOC—that it is only for “ethnic Russians in Eastern Ukraine”.
These cross processions are truly a bridge which unites the entire country into one body in Christ.