Svyatogorsk, Donetsk Province, Ukraine, September 26, 2022
Though the Ukrainian Orthodox Church’s Holy Dormition-Svyatogorsk Lavra and its many sketes have suffered greatly in recent months, the monastery was able to hold a glorious celebration of the Synaxis of All Saints of Svyatogorsk on Saturday.
According to the site of the Donetsk Diocese of the UOC, “This was the first festive Divine service held with a gathering of both clergy and lay pilgrims in 2022. Until then, it wasn’t possible to get to the monastery, rightfully called the Pearl of Donbass.”
This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the revival of monastic life at the monastery, and 18 years since it received the status of a lavra.
The Divine Liturgy for the feast was celebrated by the abbot His Eminence Metropolitan Arseny of Svyatogorsk, with other hierarchs and clergy of the UOC.
Following the service, a congratulatory message from His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Donetsk and Mariupol was played out, “which the monks and laity listened to with bated breath, not ashamed of their tears”:
Your Eminence, dear Vladyka Arseny! I am immensely glad that you have gathered pilgrims for prayer! I would like to cordially congratulate you on the feast of the Synaxis of Our Venerable Fathers Who Have Shone Forth in the Holy Mountains of Donets, and may the All-merciful Lord strengthen you and us through their prayers. Unfortunately, I don’t have the opportunity to share with you the joy of concelebration and communion, but I ask for your holy prayers at the relics of the saints, that the Lord may send His blessing and peace to our long-suffering land. And may the Mother of God wipe away the tears of all those who pray together today, who magnify the name of the Holy Trinity and glorify the memory of our Holy Fathers of Svyatogorsk. Blessed feast to you, my dear ones!
Met. Arseny expressed hope that the time will soon come when Met. Hilarion will be able to address everyone at the Lavra in person.
On Saturday, March 12, several buildings at the main Lavra were damaged, including the Holy Dormition Cathedral. The bridge connecting the monastery to the city of Svyatogorsk was also damaged.
Two explosions occurred at the Lavra again on May 4, breaking the windows and doors of the monastery churches. Two refugees were also wounded and had to undergo surgery.
It was hit again on June 1, and for the first time, several monastics were killed and injured, in addition to a number of laymen.
On May 6, the Holy Protection Church at the Lavra’s St. George Skete in the village of Dolina was completely destroyed by shelling.
On May 10, the roofs of several buildings were destroyed, window were broken, and flower beds planted by the nuns were destroyed when the St. John of Shanghai Skete in the village of Adamovka was shelled.
On May 19, the church at the Skete of the Joy of All Who Sorrow Icon of the Mother of God in the village of Bogorodichne, was destroyed.
On June 4, the beautiful wooden church at the All Saints Skete completely burned to the ground after being shelled.
On July 22, the St. John of Shanghai Skete was shelled again, causing a fire in the guest house.
On August 3, video was published showing another fire at the main Lavra location caused by shelling.