|Children greet the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, (Moscow Patriarchate) Onufriy|
September 25, 2015
Translated from Russian by Tom Winter
Translator’s note: first, we have here a testimonial to the nature of life with resilience and maintenance of normalcy in spite of all, second, at nearly the same time, Metropolitan Mitrofan was reconsecrating churches rebuilt from the destruction of the bombardments; See Reconsecration.
At the conclusion of his pastoral visit to the diocese of Donbass, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Onufriy visited Slavyansk. This is the report of the UOC website.
After a festive liturgy in the Lavra of the Holy Assumption, his Beatitude visited the monasteries in honor of Saint Anthony and Theodosius and All Saints. Later, the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church prayed in the ancient church of St. Nicholas on a cliff above the Northern Donets, and went down to the cave in which John the Venerable asceticized.
At the end of his visit, His Beatitude visited the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Mitrofan, metropolitan for Gorlovsk and Slavyansk, archpriest of the Donetsk Oblast, greeted the Primate at the gates of the church, along with his Reverence Archpriest Nikolai Fomenko of the St. Alexander Nevsky District, and clergy of the Diocese of Gorlovsk.
In his speech to the numerous faithful who came to the temple that day, His Beatitude noted the courage of the residents of Donbass, who had to endure great trials of war.
“When a person is experiencing trials of grief and suffering, he is becoming close to God. Then one begins to realize that the only help in trying circumstances is the Lord”, said the Archbishop.
His Beatitude expressed his gratitude to the Metropolitan for Gorlovsk and Slavyansk, Mitrofan, for his work in the diocese during the war. “God has sent you a difficult test, and you carried it with dignity. Thank you, for you are to us an example of courage and loyalty to God and his Holy Church. May God protect you and your entire congregation. “
In response, Metropolitan Mitrofan thanked Metropolitan Onuphrius for his pastoral visit to the land of Donetsk: “Your Beatitude, let me thank you from all of us for your visit to our diocese and to our people. You see before you, with what love all await you, in need of your blessing, prayer, and instruction. “
“I bow my head before you, dear ones, fathers, brothers and sisters. You have courageously endured all that God has allowed to you. You have saved a love for God and one another, and love of enemies, ” said the Primate.
“The highest level of spiritual development a person reaches is when he forgives his enemies. The Lord said, “Love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44). And if we fulfil this commandment, we are disciples of Christ. “