Podgorica, Montenegro, February 28, 2020
Persecuted hierarchs and Orthodox brethren stood together last night as His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine led a cross procession in support of the rights of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro together with His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and thousands of clergy, monastics, and faithful.
There was a great outpouring of love and respect for the Ukrainian primate from the Montenegrin faithful as he was greeted at the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in the capital city of Podgorica, where the people had gathered in anticipation of his arrival.
The video below, from the Union of Orthodox Journalists, shows Met. Onuphry’s entrance into the cathedral and the celebration of the moleben before the procession:
Following the service, Met. Onuphry and Met. Amfilohije headed the procession of believers, which have become commonplace since the Montenegrin government adopted a scandalous law giving it the right to confiscate Serbian Church property.
Addressing the Montenegrin faithful, His Beatitude stressed that true unity can be achieved only when this unity is centered on Christ.
“We bring from Amman the blessing of Patriarch Theophilos, Patriarch Kirill, and other primates of the Orthodox Churches. And I bring with me the blessing of the holy Prince Vladimir—our baptizer and enlightener, as well as the blessing of the venerable fathers of the Kiev Caves, whose holy relics rest in the caves and who pray for the Ukrainian people, and all those who love Christ and want to be with Him,” said the Ukrainian primate.
Met. Onuphry also told the people how since his days in seminary he had an understanding that Montenegrins are very courageous. However, said his Beatitude, “when I came here and looked at your faces, at this large number of people who gathered in the name of Christ, I realized that my ideas are very weak, that you are much more beautiful, much nobler than I imagined!”
Recalling that they are united in their Slavic blood and Orthodox faith, he encouraged the people to know and understand the will of God and thus become a saint, in whom the Divine image of the Lord is more fully revealed.
According to Met. Onuphry, the beauty of Orthodox Christians depends directly on the love of God: “I looked at your national costumes and saw that they are beautiful, they are very harmonious, and this shows that the people who created this beauty loved God and loved the harmony of their soul.”
“This beauty is not perishable,” he added, “and when a person goes to Christ, it is united with Christ and with his neighbor... We say a lot today about how we must unite with each other to defeat the evil of the world, but we can only unite around Christ. He who is with Christ, no evil can overcome him.”
His Beatitude also wished that “the grace of God would keep each of you, your families, your beautiful land, and that God’s grace would strengthen us that we may endure all trials, all difficulties that come our way. May the blessing of God rest on all of us.”
His Beatitude also gave a press conference today in which he noted that, despite the persecution against it from the state in recent years, the canonical Ukrainian Church has only grown stronger and more vibrant.
He also noted that the Montenegrins great display of faith in support of their Church in recent months is inspiring for the Ukrainian faithful.
Met. Onuphry will remain in Montenegro through tomorrow. In addition to the cross procession, His Beatitude was invited to concelebrate the feast of St. Symeon the Myrrh-Gusher tomorrow. He will also visit the ancient capital of Cetinje and venerate the relics of St. Peter of Cetinje.