Nurzec-Stacja, Poland, August 23, 2019
The 24th annual pilgrimage of the Orthodox Ordinariate of the Polish Army for soldiers and officers of uniformed services to holy Mount Grabarka was held from August 18 to 20. The event was organized together with the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Poland, reports the press service of the Boryspil Diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The Holy Mount of Grabarka, near the border with Belarus, is considered to be the holiest location in Poland for Orthodox Christians. It is the site of the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord and is home to the women’s monastery of Sts. Martha and Mary.
The mountain is “a unique, very charming place… Since 1710, pilgrims have been rushing here to receive relief and spiritual joy.” This year’s pilgrimage to the holy mountain was the most numerous, numbering over 800 people, reports the site of the Orthodox Ordinariate.
In addition to soldiers, the pilgrimage included uniformed officers of the Border Guard, the Prison Service, the Tax Administration Chamber, state and volunteer fire services, the Railway Protection Service, State Forest services, and other organizations. Chaplains, soldiers, and officers from abroad, from Slovakia and Ukraine, also participated.
According to tradition, the pilgrimage began with the Divine Liturgy in the Church of the Resurrection in nearby Siemiatycze. In a word addressed to the officers, the Ordinariate emphasize how important it is to trust in God:
Where man puts hope in himself, where pride is, there is also the fear that paralyzes and prevents him from completing the mission or task that guides the uniformed. But fear stops being paralyzing when a person ceases to trust in himself. The Gospel shows us that the more hope we place on ourselves, the more disappointment and fear… Christ appeared where the hope of the apostles was extinguished. And this outstretched hand of Jesus Christ is waiting for everyone. And in our lives Christ appears everywhere where human hope is extinguished and when man ceases to trust in himself.
The participants then set off on the annual 10-mile prayer procession from Siemiatycze to the Grabarka, where the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Eminence Archbishop Jerzy of Wrocławsko-Szczecińska in the Church of the Holy Transfiguration on the night of August 18-19. During the Liturgy, all the clergy and uniformed officers prayed for peace in Ukraine, and Abp. Jerzy expressed his support for the canonical Ukrainian Church and concern that the chaplains of the canonical Church are blocked from carrying out their ministry.
The Ukrainian Church was represented by the head of the Synodal Department for the Pastoral Care of Soldiers, and chaplains and clergy from several other dioceses.