Kiev, August 30, 2023
The three lavras of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—the Kiev Caves Lavra, the Pochaev Lavra, and the Syvatogorsk Lavra—are all dedicated to the great feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Thousands of faithful Ukrainian Orthodox Christians filled the Lavras to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ and partake of the Holy Mysteries.
And despite the efforts of the authorities, thousands of faithful managed to arrive at the Pochaev Lavra in procession in time for the feast.
Kiev Caves Lavra
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev, the primate of all Orthodox Christians in Ukraine, led the celebrations at the Kiev Caves Lavra. On Sunday night, he served Small Vespers with the Akathist to the Dormition, and later the All-Night Vigil in the Church of St. Agapit of the Kiev Caves (one of only two churches left open to the public by the persecuting state authorities), reports the Information-Education Department of the UOC.
On the same day, the rite of burial and the Akathist to the Dormition was served in the monastery’s Holy Cross Church.
His Beatitude celebrated the Liturgy the next morning in the St. Agapit Church, which was too small to accommodate all the faithful who came for the feast. Thus, the area in front of the church was also filled with believers.
Divine Liturgies were also celebrated in five other churches of the Lower Lavra, which are now accessible only to monks and employees of the Lavra.
Despite the threats and provocations of local authorities and radical anti-Orthodox nationalists, thousands of pilgrims from various regions of Ukraine managed to process to the Pochaev Lavra, arriving in time for the services for the feast of the Dormition, thus continuing a centuries-old tradition.
Celebrations at the Pochaev Lavra began on the morning of August 27. After the late Liturgy, a procession with the shroud of the Mother of God was held from the Dormition Cathedral to the Transfiguration Cathedral.
In the evening, the All-Night Vigil was celebrated in the Transfiguration Cathedral, with the Akathist to the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
The next day, the late Liturgy was celebrated in the same church.
The festive services were led by His Eminence Metropolitan Theodore of Kamenets-Podolsk, with His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev (the abbot of the monastery), His Eminence Metropolitan Sergei of Ternopil, His Eminence Archbishop Job of Shum (rector of the Pochaev Seminary), and monastic and visiting clergy.
Following the Liturgy, the shroud of the Mother of God was carried in procession from the Transfiguration Cathedral back to the Dormition Cathedral.
In the Svyatogorsk Lavra, festive services were led by the abbot, His Eminence Metropolitan Arseny of Svyatogorsk.
At noon on the eve of the feast, the 9th Hour and Small Vespers with the Akathist to the Dormition were served in the Holy Dormition Cathedral. The All-Night Vigil was served later that day. According to the monastery’s tradition, the litiya in Matins was celebrated outside the church, with a procession around the cathedral.
The next day began with the reading of the morning prayers and the Midnight Office, and a moleben with the blessing of water in the Dormition Cathedral. The Divine Liturgy was then celebrated by Met. Arseny and the monastery clergy.
Following the reading of the Holy Gospel, Met. Arseny offered a sermon, telling the faithful about the life of the Mother of God, her glorious Dormition and burial by the Apostles, and the many miracles that she continues to perform today.
After the Liturgy, a procession was held around the Dormition Cathedral, ending with the magnification of the Most Holy Theotokos. All were then invited to a festive meal.