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Ukraine: Bishop Nicholas serves in Kiev Caves Lavra on Feast Day of Hieromartyr Vladimir of Kiev

On Monday, February 6, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan arrived in Kiev, where he was greeted by His Beatitude Onufry, Metropolitan of Kiev & All Ukraine. The two hierarchs had lunch in the residence of Metropolitan Onufry at the Kiev Caves Lavra. During lunch, Bishop Nicholas told His Beatitude about his visit to Odessa, and his impressions of the trip, particularly the visit of the relics of the Holy Hieromartyr Panteleimon, and how overjoyed he was to see crowds of people who came out to greet the relics. Metropolitan Onufry expressed his gratitude to the Lord for granting Bishop Nicholas a safe trip, and gave his blessing for him to stay at the Lavra and to visit the holy sites in Kiev. After the brotherly meal, Metropolitan Onufry departed for Chernovtsy, and Bishop Nicholas visited and prayed in the caves.

On Monday night, the eve of the feast day of the Holy Hieromartyr Vladimir, Metropolitan of Kiev, All-Night Vigil was served in the Refectory Church of the Lavra. The Vigil was led by Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol & Brovary, co-served by Bishop Clement of Irpen and Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan.

The Holy Hieromartyr Vladimir of Kiev was elected Metropolitan of Moscow & Kolomna in 1898 and was notable, in particular, for his concern for widows, orphans, and the poor. In 1912, he became Metropolitan of Petrograd and was appointed to the Holy Synod. In 1915, Metropolitan Vladimir was transferred to Kiev. It was Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev who announced in 1917 that St. Tikhon had been elected as Patriarch of Moscow.

In January 1918, many churches and monasteries were damaged by the cannon fire as Bolshevik forces vied for control of Kiev. On January 23, the Bolsheviks seized the Kiev Caves Lavra, and the monks were taken out into the courtyard to be stripped and beaten. On January 25th, the soldiers entered Metropolitan Vladimir's cell and after mocking him and beating him, they drove him outside the walls of the Lavra and shot him. Before his death, the archpastor prayed, blessed his executioners and said: "May the Lord forgive you." In the morning, some women came to the gates of the Lavra and told the monks where the Metropolitan’s body could be found. He was lying on his back, with bullet wounds near his right eye and by his right collarbone. There were also several cuts and gashes on the body, including a very deep chest wound. The hieromartyr was carried into the Lavra church of Saint Michael, where he had spent his last days at prayer.

On Tuesday, February 7, Bishop Nicholas led an early Liturgy in the Annunciation Church of the Far Caves, where the holy relics of St. Vladimir are buried. At Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas commemorated over 3,500 clerics, monastics, and laymen of the Eastern American Diocese and beyond, whose names had been submitted on the diocesan Facebook page. Thousands of people sent in the names of their relatives and loved ones, that they might receive prayers and God's intercession during the Divine Liturgy in the Caves. After Liturgy, there was a moleben at the relics. Then His Grace and members of the delegation from the Eastern American Diocese went up the place where Metropolitan Vladimir was martyred, and Bishop Nicholas prayed there, and all could sense the depth and touching nature of prayers said in that place.

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Ukraine: Bishop Nicholas serves in Kiev Caves Lavra on Feast Day of Hieromartyr Vladimir of Kiev - 02/07/17

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