Chełm, Poland, June 7, 2021
Hierarchs of the Polish Orthodox Church and the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church concelebrated over the weekend, honoring the Martyrs of Chełm and Podlasie who laid down their lives for Christ in the 20th century.
At the invitation of His Eminence Archbishop Abel of Lublin and Chełm of the Polish Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Nikodim of Zhytomyr and His Grace Bishop Pimen of Dubno took part in the celebrations in the city of Chełm, reports the Zhytomyr Diocese.
His Eminence Archbishop Paisjusz of Przemyśl and Gorlice and His Grace Bishop Warsonofiusz of Siemiatycze of the Polish Church also concelebrated at the All-Night Vigil and the Divine Liturgy the following day.
Following the evening service, the hierarchs celebrated a memorial panikhida for the 200 residents of the village of Verkhoviny who were martyred for their Orthodox faith on June 6, 1945.
The Divine Liturgy for the Martyrs of Chełm and Podlasie was celebrated at the Church of St. John the Theologian in Chełm. Following the service, the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful made a solemn procession around the church. The feast ended with a welcoming speech from all the hierarchs present.
Abp. Abel and the Polish Orthodox Church have proven themselves great friends of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and supporters of Orthodoxy in Ukraine throughout the ongoing crisis created by the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
In January 2019, Abp. Abel concelebrated with His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and other hierarchs in the Ukrainian city of Boryspil. He encouraged the hierarchs and faithful of the Ukrainian Church, saying: ““The Orthodox Church cannot approve of these schismatics who seem to have found themselves in canonical communion… Without repentance, the schismatics cannot be united to the mystical Body of Christ of the holy Church of Christ. And our position on these principles of Church discipline will always be unchanging.”