Gorodenka, Ivano-Frankivsk Province, Ukraine, December 22, 2020
On Saturday, December 19, the feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church celebrated its first service in a new church in the city of Gorodenko in the western Ukrainian Ivano-Frankivsk Province.
The Church of St. Elijah is the first canonical parish in the city since the 1990s, as the other churches were seized by Philaret Denisenko’s “Kiev Patriarchate” and the Uniate Greek Catholics, reports the Ivano-Frankivsk Diocese of the canonical Ukrainian Church.
Uniatism is the majority religion in the province, with 57% of the population. Only 35% identify as Orthodox, and even that number is split between canonical Orthodox Christians and schismatics.
With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Seraphim of Ivano-Frankivsk and Kolomyia, clergy of the Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi-Bukovina Dioceses gathered on the feast of St. Nicholas to join the St. Elijah parish community and their rector for the first Divine Liturgy in their own church in several decades.
During the service, a special prayer was offered for peace and tranquility in Ukraine. Following the Liturgy, a memorial litiya was served for all reposed Orthodox Christians.
The parishioners who actively worked and helped in the arrangements of the church were blessed with Church awards.
“The clergy and faithful of the Ivano-Frankivsk diocese, headed by His Eminence Archbishop Seraphim, sincerely congratulate the rector and parishioners of St. Elijah’s Church on the revival of liturgical life in their own church,” writes the diocesan press service.
According to Archpriest Rostislav Yarema, an expert on Ukrainian Orthodox history, in 1990, there were 619 Orthodox parishes in the Ivano-Frankivsk Province, but between 1990 and 1997, more than 500 were seized by Uniates.