His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine led the celebration of the feast of the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God at the Holy Dormition Pochaev Monastery in Western Ukraine over the weekend.
The Ukrainian primate was joined by a host of hierarchs and clergy and thousands of Orthodox faithful, many of whom had processed to the holy habitation over the course of several days:
The services at the monastery began on Friday evening, August 4, with a procession transferring the Pochaev Icon from the Holy Dormition Cathedral to the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral—the monastery’s largest church, where the services for the feast took place, reports the Information-Education Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
His Beatitude then led Small Vespers with the singing of Akathist to the Pochaev Icon:
After the Akathist, the All-Night Vigil began, sung by three monastery choirs:
The next morning, Met. Onuphry led the Divine Liturgy for the feast together with nearly two dozen bishops, including the Lavra abbot, His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev.
After the reading of the Gospel, His Beatitude addressed the faithful with a homily in which he emphasized that the Mother of God cares for all people and bestows great grace through her miraculous icons.
According to the Gospel, while hanging on the Cross, the Lord entrusted His Mother and the holy Apostle John the Theologian to each other. “The Holy Fathers, interpreting this event, say that in the person of the John the Theologian, the Lord handed over the entire human race into the hands of the Mother of God,” His Beatitude preached.
The Theotokos is now the common mother for all of us, “who constantly cares for us and stands before the throne of God, raising her holy prayers to the throne of God for every person and for all of us together.”
And “the Mother of God gives us especially great grace through her miraculous icons.”
Met. Onuphry also spoke about the miracle being commemorated this day, when the Mother of God appeared on Pochaev mountain during the invasion of the Tatars, repelling the enemy. “They realized that this woman is the Queen of Heaven and Earth, and that she protects the weak, the infirm, the sick, and covers all those who need Divine protection,” His Beatitude continued.
Some of the Tatars fled, the Metropolitan recalled, but some repented, were baptized, and became good monks. Read the full story here.
After the service, special prayers were offered for peace in Ukraine and for God to bless the suffering and the needy. The Pochaev Icon was then prayerfully carried in procession back to the Holy Dormition Cathedral, where it is usually kept above the Royal Doors.