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NEW YORK: July 20, 2015
A Personal Visit by the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to the Russian Church Abroad

On July 16-19, 2015, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, visited establishments of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The main goal of this trip was to perform a commemorative service at the crypt of Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory. Metropolitan Onouphry was accompanied by His Grace Bishop Evsevy, Vicar of Chernovitsa-Bukovino Diocese.

On July 18, the feast day of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, Metropolitan Onouphry celebrated Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. His Beatitude was joined by the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America, Bishop Evsevy and a host of clergyman of the Russian Church Abroad. After Liturgy, the Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church performed a pannikhida at the crypt of Metropolitan Laurus (+2008), the late First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, who on May 17, 2007, signed the Act of Canonical Communion between the Russian Church Abroad and the Russian Orthodox Church together with His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.

Greeting the lofty guest, Metropolitan Hilarion gave Metropolitan Onouphry the highest award of the Russian Church Abroad, the Medal of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign, First Degree. To mark the primates visit to Holy Trinity Monastery, its abbot, Archimandrite Luke, gave Metropolitan Onouphry a white klobuk which had once belonged to Metropolitan Laurus. In turn, the Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gave Metropolitan Hilarion a panaghia marking the 1000th anniversary of the repose of Holy Prince Vladimir, Baptizer of Rus.

On Sunday, July 19, Metropolitan Onouphry celebrated Divine Liturgy at St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ, in the presence of the Myrrh-streaming Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. Participating in Liturgy along with Metropolitan Onouphry were Metropolitan Hilarion, His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and Bishop Evsevy, as well as the cathedral clerics and visiting clergyman. A multitude of worshipers were also in attendance, many of them having been parishioners and spiritual children of Metropolitan Onouphry in Chernovitsa-Bukovina before emigrating to the United States, when Metropolitan Onouphry headed that diocese.

Welcoming the visiting hierarch, Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov, Honorary Rector of the cathedral, remembered the previous visits of Metropolitan Onouphry, expressed his empathy with the suffering Ukrainian people, and wished his beatitude many years of Divine Mercy, health and salvation.

Metropolitan Hilarion then thanked Metropolitan Onouphry for his visit to Holy Trinity Monastery, for their common divine service and prayer. As a memento of the joint service, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad gave Metropolitan Onouphry a copy of the Hawaiian Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. In response, His Beatitude expressed joy at serving with the other hierarchs and clergyman, many of whom made a special trip to Howell from all over the United States. He noted that he had many times himself visited St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, and thanked Fr Valery for having built such a splendid church. Everything is magnificently done here, and every time I would come, everything draws me towards prayer: the service, the singing, and the architectural beauty, said Metropolitan Onouphry. Today we live in complicated times. Human blood is being spilled in Ukraine, continued His Beatitude. Nothing can justify murder, for there are always peaceful resolutions to all problems. We stand firm in this, confessing this truth and praying for the world. I know that you pray for peace in Ukraine in this church, too. The Lord sends us tribulations, and we must endure them, not losing our Christian or human dignity. On earth, one cannot live without challenges, no matter where you live: America, Australia, Ukraineeveryone has their own trials and tribulations, which can do damage to human life.

The Head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church then wished the believers God's aid in enduring all troubles, doing so with prayer, gratitude and repentance, and also mercy from the Lord and good health. Protopriest Serge Lukianov, Senior Priest of the cathedral, who had celebrated his namesday the day before, was given a pectoral ornamented cross marking the 1000th anniversary of the death of Holy Prince Vladimir. Father Serge thanked the hierarch and noted that Metropolitan Onouphry is serving at St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral for the first time in his capacity as Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, bringing joy to the clergyman and worshipers, for whom his visit was a great gift: to serve and to pray together, to meet with him as archpastor and person, being the very epitome of spiritual firmness, possessor of heavenly wisdom and true monastic humility.

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