Kiev, December 9, 2020
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the episcopal consecration of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine.
Metropolitan Onuphry, then Archimandrite, was consecrated as Bishop of Chernivtsi and Bukovina, on December 9, 1990. Since then, he has established himself as a wise, patient, loving, and deeply prayerful archpastor who has earned the love and respect of the millions of faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, and faithful throughout the world.
He was elected primate of the UOC on August 13, 2014, and has served as a steady guiding force for the Church as it endures persecution from its own state and fellow Ukrainians and now betrayal from Patriarch Bartholomew and other Orthodox primates and hierarchs.
In honor of his anniversary, the UOC prepared a montage of highlights from Met. Onuphry’s primatial ministry:
Last night, on the eve of his 30th anniversary, His Beatitude celebrated the All-Night Vigil at the Dormition Cathedral of the Kiev Caves Lavra. He was concelebrated by a number of hierarchs of the Ukrainian Church, including His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary, the Chancellor of the UOC, and His Eminence Pavel of Vyshgorod, the abbot of the Kiev Caves Lavra, reports the Information-Education Department of the UOC.
The greatly beloved Met. Onuphry also celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the occasion of his anniversary this morning at the Lavra.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia offered his heartfelt congratulations to Met. Onuphry, saying: “The past years have not been easy for you or the millions of Ukrainian citizens who remain loyal to the Mother Church. However, in all the sometimes-difficult circumstances, placing your hope in the Lord, you have always sought to show yourself an irreproachable laborer, faithfully teaching the word of truth.”
“Now, occupying the ancient cathedra of the Metropolitans of Kiev, you tirelessly care for the comprehensive development of diocesan and parish life, you instruct the people in faith and piety as a father, and you support them in difficulties and trials and call for brotherly love and peace,” His Holiness added.
And touching upon the present troubles, the Patriarch writes:
I would especially like to note your efforts aimed at establishing canonical Orthodoxy in the Ukrainian land. I am grateful to you for your unwavering firm position in matters of Church order, on which not only the present, but also the future of world Orthodoxy depends. Despite all the hardships, you continue to courageously bear witness to Christ the Savior to our contemporaries, to His immeasurable love and forgiveness, and to the revealed truths and eternal spiritual and moral ideals captured in the Gospel.
In an article dedicated to His Beatitude, His Grace Bishop Viktor of Baryshevka quoted a recent statement from Met. Onuphry: “I served as a hieromonk for 18 years. Those were the best years of my life. After 3 or 4 years of priestly service, I felt like I had already been serving for half my life. And 30 years of episcopal ministry have flown by in an instant. A priest’s ministry is more liturgical, while a bishops’ is loaded with administrative issues.”
“These words truly reveal our primate,” Bp. Viktor writes. “For him, the saturation of life is measured not by the number of events or the importance of meetings with those in power, but exclusively by the religious component.”
“He truly lives when he serves the Liturgy, prays, and celebrates the Sacraments of the Church,” Bp. Viktor continues. “For him, the most important event is the Divine Liturgy, and the most important meeting is the meeting with Christ.”
His Grace writes of His Beatitude’s gift of dealing with people:
Perhaps it is because of his focus on the Savior that His Beatitude received such an invaluable gift as the equal treatment of all people without exception. For Metropolitan Onuphry, social status, age, gender, or even more so the financial status of a person do not matter. He perceives and accepts everyone with the same inner humility and love. His Beatitude is always able to find the right words. Even more important is his ability to utter these words so that they touch the depths of the heart and soul. Communication with our primate is always simple, easy, and effortless. It inspires us to always remember the words of the Apostle Paul, who urges Christians to follow the faith of their teachers (cf. Heb. 13:7).
Bp. Viktor concludes: “May the example of his strong faith and deep humility become a strengthening and inspiring example for all faithful children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on their path to the Kingdom of Heaven.”