POCHAEV: May 27, 2007
Metropolitan Laurus' Sermon After Early Divine Liturgy at Uspensky Cathedral in Pochaev Lavra
Eminent Archpastors, Reverent Fathers, Dear in the Lord Brothers and Sisters!
On this day of the Pentecost, when we sing "all men into unity; and with one accord we glorify the All-holy Spirit," in this blessed hour of our communion, I remember the divine words of the Psalm-singer and Prophet David, which hold a profound, eternal truth: "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity" (Psalms 132:1).
During our stay within the hospitable confines of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, celebrating today the 15 th anniversary of the Cathedral of Kharkov, I and my companions were able to see with our own eyes the eternal importance of these words. We sensed the joy of communion and of being together, we saw the spiritual elation with which the Fullness of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church greeted us.
Returning to Pochaev is a return to our roots and our spiritual heritage, which we always felt through our bishops, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) and Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko). Let me briefly mention the work of these two hierarchs as it pertains to Pochaev Lavra.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Anthony, as Archbishop of Volynia and Zhitomir, and Hiero-Archimandrite of Pochaev Lavra, exerted a great deal of time and attention to those under him at the monastery, understanding its great importance for the Orthodox population, who were surrounded by Uniates. He lived in the Lavra for a long time, and tried to make it the spiritual center of the region. He opened the relics of St Job for public veneration and established the holiday of their translation (August 28). He wrote the service and akathist to the Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God, and also to St Job. Now these services are performed abroad, in Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, and everywhere where the Pochaev Icon and the memory of St Job are revered. Through the efforts of Vladyka Anthony, this magnificent cathedral, dedicated to the Most-Holy Trinity, was erected. It was during this time that the Serbian Metropolitan Dimitrij visited the Lavra, who later became the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church, who provided colossal help to the Russian Church Abroad during the first years of her existence.
Vladyka Anthony spent a great deal of energy developing the publishing work aimed at edifying the people. In 1902, he proposed to Hieromonk Vitaly (Maximenko), his former student at Kazan Theological Academy, to transfer from teaching to organizing a missionary and publishing operation at Pochaev Lavra. Fr Vitaly was appointed as a preacher of the Word of God, a publisher and member of the Spiritual Council. Over the course of 12 years, the monastery's printing house was transformed from a humble, aging operation to one of the biggest ecclesiastical publishing houses in Russia.
We in Holy Trinity Monastery continue to operate the St Job of Pochaev print house, founded by Archbishop Vitaly in America, and we have a large icon of St Job, which had earlier been located in the Lavra's print house. When publishing spiritual literature was forbidden in Russia, we living abroad continued the tradition of Pochaev, printing service books and educational literature for the Orthodox flock in the diaspora, and to the best of our abilities tried to send this literature to the USSR, although such "ideological diversions" were closely watched by the state "organs" and the shipments were often unsuccessful.
Today, on this holiday, I ask your holy prayers for our monastery's brethren who labor at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, where our Cathedral is dedicated to the Most-Holy Trinity, the lower church being devoted to St Job, the heavenly protector of the publisher-monks. Through his intercession, may the Lord make our service to God and man fruitful and successful.
Your Eminences, dear and beloved in the Lord fathers, brothers and sisters! Once again I express my deepest thanks for today's joys, for your prayers to the Most-Holy Trinity and St Job. I extend my heartfelt wishes for abundant spiritual and physical strength. "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus" (I Corinthians 16:23-24). Amen.
In good and prayerful memory of our joint prayers, I ask that you accept this holy icon, witnessing the unbreakable bonds between our brethren and the monks of Pochaev Lavra.
From the Editors: After His Eminence's sermon, the members of the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia gave the Abbot of Pochaev Lavra, His Eminence Archbishop Vladimir of Pochaev, an icon depicting St Job and St John (Maximovich), and also the travels of the Lavra printing house from Pochaev to Jordanville. At the end of Divine Liturgy, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and his companions enjoyed trapeza with the Eminent Archpastors, the participants in the services and the monks of Pochaev Lavra, and then prayed at the holy sites of Holy Trinity Cathedral built by Metropolitan Anthony.