KIEV: May 29, 2017
The Primate of the Russian Church Abroad Participates in 25th-Anniversary Celebrations of the Kharkov Council of Bishops
On May 28, 2017, the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, led a host of hierarchs in a moleben to the Lord for the great mercies and generosity He continues to bestow upon His Holy Church over the history of the Ukrainian land. The day marked the 25th anniversary of the Kharkov Council of Bishops [which in 1992 confirmed unity of the Church of Ukraine with Ecumenical Orthodoxy-Editor], and was celebrated on the courtyard before Uspensky Cathedral of Kiev Pechersk Lavra.
The day began with Divine Liturgy, which His Beatitude celebrated together with His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and 75 other bishops of the UOC. Among them were participants of the Kharkov Council of Bishops which convened in 1992, including His Eminence Metropolitan Agathangel of Odessa and Izmail; His Eminence Metropolitan Lazar of Simferopol and Crimea; His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Khust and Vinogradovsk; His Eminence Metropolitan Ilarion of Donetsk and Mariupol; His Eminence Metropolitan Iriney of Dnepropetrovsk and Pavlogradsk; His Eminence Metropolitan Sergy of Ternopol and Kremenetz, along with other bishops of the UOC, visiting clergymen, priest-monks of the Lavra, and attended by a multitude of worshipers.
After the services, Metropolitan Agathangel congratulated His Beatitude on the occasion, and on the third anniversary of the latter’s service as head of the UOC.
“Your Beatitude, on behalf of the Holy Synod, the Synodal departments, seminaries and monasteries, and from the many millions of members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, I express our heartfelt greetings on the triumph of Orthodoxy in the ancient land of Ukraine. You have our deep gratitude for your chief-archpastoral labors for the benefit of our Church and for Universal Orthodox Christianity,” he said.
Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR relayed congratulations to Metropolitan Onouphry on behalf of the Orthodox Christians of America, Australia and other dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
“Our flock is large, and it is scattered throughout the continents of the world, but we love our historic homeland of Kiev and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,” said the archpastor. “We closely watch the events occurring in this land, and fervently pray to the Lord that He grant you peace, prosperity, brotherly love and piety.” Metropolitan Hilarion gave His Beatitude a gift of a painted icon of three hierarchs: Holy Patriarch Tikhon, St John of Shanghai and St Jonah of Hankow.
In return, Metropolitan Onouphry thanked that hierarchs for their congratulations and said “I congratulate all of you, dear bishops, fathers, brothers and sisters, on the 25th anniversary of the Kharkov Council of Bishops, the one which turned a new page in the history of our Church and Her service to our people.”
The primate thanked the participants of the Kharkov Council “for their courage and podvig, for they showed what it means to be good pastors, prepared to lay down their lives for their flock.” His Beatitude remembered with tremulous veneration his predecessor, Metropolitan Vladimir, who was elected First Hierarch at that council. “He was a brave, wise, meek, humble and wise man. He found himself in a very complicated situation, but having peace with God in his heart, he was able to pacify all those around him.” Metropolitan Onouphry then congratulated the congregation and offered his blessing.