Protopriest Serafim Gan:
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry is a banner under whom the faithful of the Church of Christ gather.

On this chosen and holy day for the entire Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the parishes and monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia lovingly join the prayers of the entire Orthodox Church for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, expressing heartfelt wishes for the blessed aid of God to His Beatitude and his archpastors, clergymen and flock.

His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry is the banner under whom the faithful of the Church of Christ gather. His solemn witness and ascetic life are the basis for our common unity and standing for Holy Orthodoxy.

It is precisely thanks to his authority that few of his clergymen and laity have fallen prey to todays temptations and seductions, preserving devotion to the traditions, holy canons and Patristic traditions of the Church, for His Beatitude leads the clergy and flock with his kind words and the example of his personal life. One cant help but think that it is specifically due to the stature of Metropolitan Onouphry within the Orthodox world that those in other Local [National] Orthodox Churches are not succumbing to the colossal pressure they endure from certain powers.

By Divine mercy I am often able to visit the hospitable lands of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, venerate her holy relics, and participate in the divine services celebrated by His Beatitude. His Beatitudes profound faith in Divine Providence that guides the Church--and each and every one of us personally--the humble gratitude for all that God sends down, strictness towards himself and leniency towards his fellow man, and a great deal more in his life and service remind me of the late Metropolitan Laurus. The latter hierarch and His Beatitude shared a common monastic friendship, brotherhood in Christ and prayers for each other. I dare say that their personal relationship to some degree served the goal of reestablishing unity within our Church. I rejoice and cherish sensing in His Beatitude the same spirit as Vladyka Laurus possessed.

Just as Vladyka Laurus led our Church in prayer and by personal example, with the spirit of universal participation in the life of the entire Church of Christ (he was, just as His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry is today, known and revered on Mt Athos, the Holy Land and throughout the Orthodox world), so does Vladyka Onouphry lead the ship of his Church, preserving unity of all his faithful and supporting our Holy Orthodox faith throughout the world.

And so I gladly join all the good words spoken in todays congratulatory messages, prayerfully wishing His Beatitude firm health, boldness of spirit and Heavenly aid in his righteous labors, and I wish the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that he leads the same patience and staunchness which will continue to inspire us in bearing our own witness in the Western world!



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