Serbian faithful processing 700 miles in support of persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Belgrade, June 1, 2023

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On Saturday, May 27, a group of Serbian Orthodox faithful set off from Belgrade in a prayerful procession to Mt. Athos that will span more than 650 miles and 2.5 months.

With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Porfirije, the participants of the Vidovdan Pilgrimage movement are dedicating their labors to the faithful of the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church, reports the Serbian outlet Evening News.

The 680-mile procession will pass through the territory of Serbia, North Macedonia, and Greece, ending at Hilandar Monastery on the Holy Mountain on the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, August 19.

“We already held a prayer march in support of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on May 13 .We wanted to draw attention to the problem of the terror against the UOC, from whom churches and holy sites are seized by violence. The Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras are holy places for all Orthodox peoples, including us Serbs,” said the head of the pilgrimage movement, Milan Ivankovich.

“That’s why we decided to dedicate the 17th procession to our brothers and sisters from Ukraine. We will pray that they will overcome all persecutions and continue to stand firmly in the Orthodox faith. We are one Church, and therefore the sufferings of Ukrainian believers are also our sufferings,” Ivankovich emphasized.

The main “slogan” of the procession is “We won’t give up the holy sites of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” which is reminiscent of the regular processions held in Montenegro in 2020 in defense of the Church’s property against government attempts at seizure.

The participants will maintain a strict fast throughout the procession, with the constant reading of the Psalter. They plan to cover about 12 miles a day.

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