At the invitation of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev & All Ukraine, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York has been visiting Ukraine.
On Saturday, May 27, the feast day of Venerable Nikita the Recluse, Bishop of Novgorod, Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated Divine Liturgy in Annunciation Church in the Far Caves of the Kiev Caves Lavra. His Eminence was joined in the service by His Grace Bishop Clement of Irpen. Upon completion of the service, His Grace thanked the Primate of the Russian Church Abroad for the fervent prayers for peace in Ukraine that are lifted in parishes abroad. In response, Metropolitan Hilarion expressed hope for the return of peace in the land and for the spiritual blossoming of the brethren and congregants of the Kiev Caves Lavra.
After the veneration of the cross, His Eminence performed a litiya at the relics of his Heavenly patron, Venerable Hilarion, Schemamonk of the Caves, and venerated the myrrh-streaming skulls.
On Sunday, May 28, the triumphal divine service was celebrated in the courtyard in front of the Holy Dormition Cathedral of Kiev Caves Lavra, marking the 25th anniversary of the Kharkov Council of Bishops, which was held in 1992 and confirmed the unity of the Church of Ukraine with Ecumenical Orthodoxy and determined the future development of Church life.
Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – His Beatitude Onufry, Metropolitan of Kiev & All Ukraine. His Beatitude was co-served by His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, and hierarchs and clergy from different corners of Ukraine and the whole world.
After Liturgy, Metropolitan Onufry congratulated all those present with the Sunday feast and on the occasion of the anniversary of the Kharkov Council.
The ROCOR First Hierarch relayed congratulations to the Primate of the UOC on behalf of the episcopate, clergy, and Orthodox Christians of America, Australia, and other dioceses of the Russian Church Abroad.
"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 presented His Beatitude a gift of a painted icon of three holy hierarchs: Patriarch Tikhon the Confessor, John of Shanghai, and Jonah of Hankow.