Neporotove, Ukraine, August 15, 2019
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Great Martyr and Healer St. Panteleimon at a children’s health center near the village of Neporotove in the Chernivtsi Province on August 9.
The beloved Metropolitan was concelebrated by a number of Ukrainian hierarchs, including the local ruling hierarch His Eminence Metropolitan Melety of Chernivtsi and Bukhovina, and by His Eminence Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The Church of St. Panteleimon on the territory of the health center was built 6 years ago, for the children of the orphanage run by the Holy Ascension-Bancheny Monastery to spend their summers. During the service, a prayer for peace and Church unity was offered.
Following the Liturgy, His Beatitude served a moleben to St. Panteleimon and sprinkled everyone with Holy Water.
The Ukrainian primate frequently visits the children at the monastery’s orphanage and at other homes for orphans and disabled children. He traditionally visits them on the feasts of Nativity and Pascha and at other times of the year, bringing gifts with him for all the children. The children are always overjoyed to see their beloved archpastor.
Addressing Met. Gabriel, Met. Onuphry said: “I want to thank Vladyka Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech, our brother from the Holy Bulgarian Church, for his participating in our celebrations, and to convey our best wishes and our brotherly greeting to the primate of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Neofit.”
Met. Gabriel has proven himself a devoted friend to Met. Onuphry and the canonical Ukrainian Church. He most recently concelebrated with Met. Onuphry and a number of hierarchs from throughout the world on the Ukrainian primate’s name’s day in June.
Addressing the ongoing Ukrainian Church crisis instigated by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Met. Gabriel said at that time that the 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.
Met. Gabriel was also one of three Bulgarian metropolitans who strongly urged the Bulgarian Synod last fall to call for a pan-Orthodox council to resolve the Ukrainian issue.