Montenegro, September 15, 2020
Two hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are currently on pilgrimage to the holy sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, “who brought us the blessing of St. Alexander Nevsky,” in the words of His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro.
On Friday, September 11, His Eminence Met. Luke of Zaporozhye of the UOC visited the famous St. Basil of Ostrog Monastery, where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy together with Met. Amfilohije in the Skete of St. John.
After the hierarchs exchanged gifts, Met. Luke expressed the prayers and sympathy of the Ukrainian people for the Montenegrin people, emphasizing that they are united in their sufferings under unjust governments, but especially in their Orthodox faith. Met. Luke also praised Met. Amfilohije’s leadership during such troubling times.
Later that day, Met. Luke visited Cetinje Monastery, where he venerated the right hand of St. John the Baptist, a particle of the True Cross of the Lord, and the relics of the wonderworker St. Peter of Cetinje.
That same day, His Eminence Archbishop Diodore of Yuzhnoe celebrated Liturgy for the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist at Cetinje Monastery. In his homily, he encouraged the faithful to always choose life—“that you will always live with Christ and that Christ will always be with you.”
“Christ is always with those who are not afraid. The history of your people confirms that,” the Archbishop said.
On Sunday, Met. Amfilohije, Met. Luke and Abp. Diodore celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos and St. Alexander Nevsky on Sveti Stefan Island, reports the site of the Metropolis of Montenegro.
Following the service, Met. Amfilohije noted that he was particularly happy to serve in the Church of St. Alexander Nevsky, “one of the most important personalities of the Slavic peoples,” “with two bishops of our Kievan Rus’, who have brought us the blessing of St. Alexander Nevsky.”
The Metropolitan of Montenegro also recalled that King Alexander II Karađorđević, who built the church they were serving in, received tens of thousand of refugees expelled by the Bolsheviks, including more than 30 bishops led by His Eminence Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev and Galicia, the first primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
“His Beatitude Met. Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine is the successor of Met. Anthony,” Vladyka Amfilohije emphasized.
Met. Luke then offered a short sermon on St. Alexander Nevsky, noting that, “We celebrate St. Alexander Nevsky, not because of his politics, not because of his heroism, but because of his fidelity to Christ.”
Met. Onuphry also visited the Montenegrin Church and people in February and March, where he led a procession of 100,000 faithful against the oppressive “Law on Religious Freedom.”