UKRAINE: May 13, 2010
The Primate of the Russian Church Abroad Participates In Celebrations of the 850th Anniversary of Vladimiro-Volyn’sky Cathedral
On Tuesday, May 11, 2010, the feast day of the Saints of Volyn’, His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York celebrated Divine Liturgy on the square in front of Dormition Cathedral.
Concelebrating with them were: His Eminence Metropolitan Nifont of Lutsk and Volyn; His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Kust and Vinogradovsk; His Eminence Archbishop Mitrofan of Belotserkov and Boguslav; His Eminence Archbishop Varfolomei of Rovensk and Ostrog; His Eminence Archbishop Avgustin of Lvov and Galicia; His Eminence Anatoly of Sarnensk and Polessk; His Eminence Archbishop Simeon of Vinnitsa and Moghilev-Podolsk; His Grace Bishop Georgi of Semyatsk (Polish Orthodox Church); His Grace Bishop Melety of Khotinsk; His Grace Bishop Nikodim of Vladimiro-Volynsk and Kovelsk; His Grace Bishop Vladimir of Shepetevsk and Slavutsk; His Grace Bishop Aleksandr of Pereyaslavl’ and Khmelnitsky; His Grace Bishop Panteleimon of Vasilkovsk; His Grace Bishop Iosif of Zaporozhiye and Melitopolsk, and a host of clergymen.
After divine services, Bishop Nikodim congratulated Metropolitan Vladimir on the anniversary of the cathedral and gave the hierarch a gift of an icon of the Resurrection of Christ.
Vladyka Nikodim likewise welcomed the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on his visit to the homeland of his ancestors, and for prayerful memory, gave him an icon of St Amfilohy of Pochaev containing a portion of his relics, and gave Metropolitan Hilarion a medal commemorating the 850th anniversary of Dormition Cathedral.
In response, Metropolitan Hilaron said, in part:
Your Beatitude! Your Eminence! Your Graces! Dear Fathers, brothers and sisters!
I express my heartfelt greetings to all of you who have gathered today before this holy church, to prayerfully glorify, “with one mouth and one heart,” the Lord God and His Most-Pure Mother, to Whom this grand, spiritually-bountiful cathedral is dedicated.
It was with spiritual trepidation that I arrived on the land of my ancestors, to share with you this great and important jubilee, the 850th anniversary of Holy Dormition Cathedral.
This date is very important historically for Ukrainian spirituality, for this holy church is the only one on the land of Volyn’ that has survived to this day from the period of Kievan Rus’ and is indissolubly bound to the millennial history of the Ukrainian people, their tragedies and their rebirth.
Dormition Cathedral became a visible symbol of the staunchness, the strength of the Orthodox Christian spirit and the faith of the Ukrainian people.
Over the course of the atheist regime, when most of the churches on the territories of Ukraine, Russia and Belarussia were robbed, destroyed, and desecrated, Holy Dormition Cathedral, by the mercy of God, remained a parish church for a long time, and continued to be a spiritual haven for Orthodox Christians.
Now the church is once again a cathedral, for so true are the words of Holy Apostle Paul, that “God is not mocked.”
We witness now how Ukrainian churches are full of parishioners. The cities and towns of Ukraine once again resound with the peal of church bells. The people of God and the clergymen of this region hold firmly to the Orthodox Faith and His Holy Church, and no enemy can destroy Her, for Her Head—our Lord Jesus Christ—said “ I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
The great holy icon of the Russian diaspora, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign,” is presently visiting the Ukrainian land. This is the Hodigitria and Protectress of thousands of Russians, Ukrainians, Belarussians, people of other nationalities, who were forced to flee their country, which was possessed by the insanity of the godless.
As we behold this icon, let us ask of the Lord and His Most-Pure Mother to heal the wounds of division and schism, to overcome ecclesiastical and social troubles, granting spiritual strength, patience and love.
Dear brother archpastors, fathers, brothers and sisters, the people of this splendid ancient city: Once again, accept my heartfelt greetings on this blessed jubilee, the 850th anniversary of the founding of Holy Dormition Cathedral!
I pray that the Veil of the Most-Holy Mother of God would always remain over this holy place. Preserve the Orthodox Christian faith—in it we will all find strength!
In memory of his visit to Volyn’, His Eminence then gave Bishop Nikodim an icon of the Holy Royal Martyrs.
After divine services, a formal reception was offered at the Volyn Diocesan Throne Room.