With the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, Archpriest Nazari Polataiko, Dean of Los Angeles’ Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral and a member of the OCA’s Office of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, represented the Orthodox Church in America at festivities marking the name’s day of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv and All Ukraine.
The highlight of the visit was the celebration of the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy at Kyiv’s Monastery of the Caves—popularly known as the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra—on June 25, 2018, the feast of Saint Onufry the Great.
Metropolitan Onufry has maintained close ties and relations with the OCA since his election as Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in August 2014. He is well remembered for his moving banquet address at the 18th All-American Council in Atlanta, GA in July 2015, in which he reflected in detail on the life and ministry of Saint Tikhon of Moscow during his decade-long tenure in North America.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Father Nazari read Metropolitan Tikhon’s congratulatory message to Metropolitan Onufrey.
Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon to
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv and All Ukraine
June 25, 2018
Dear Brother in Christ and Concelebrant:
On the occasion of your Name Day it is a great joy to greet You as You celebrate the living memory of Saint Onufry the Great together with Your brother hierarchs, reverend priests and pious deacons, faithful monastics and laity – truly with the whole people of God.
As the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church You have been placed by God in the middle of the nation of Ukraine at a time of violent and bloody military conflict in the east. This conflict brings sorrow to the hearts of all people of Ukraine, believers and unbelievers alike. The history of the 20th Century shows that Ukraine is not a stranger to suffering, war, and genocide. The ideologies have been different, but the suffering has been both personal and national.
Your ministry as first hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is called to be a service of prayer and healing, a witness to the priority of the Gospel of Christ. Together with Your Beatitude, we in the Orthodox Church in America pray for the peace and stability of the nation of Ukraine, for establishment of peaceful relations with all neighboring countries, and for the prosperity of the citizens of Ukraine.
The life of Your Beatitude’s heavenly patron, the Venerable Onufry, unfolded in the Egyptian desert, far from Ukraine and even farther from America, in the early centuries of the Christian Church. Yet the saint is for us today a living witness in prayer and in faithfulness to the Good News of Christ. We also learn from his life the centrality of the Holy Eucharist, for we are told that Holy Communion was brought to him by an angel every week on Sunday.
Saint Onufry after his death continues to bear witness to the Gospel of Christ through the testimony of his life and through his prayers for suffering humanity. The Saint is venerated in the Christian Churches of the East and the West, in the Orthodox Churches, in the Catholic Church, and in the Oriental Churches. Surely the prayers of Saint Onufry for the peace of the whole world include his prayers for peace among Christians.
Your Beatitude, on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America and our clergy and people in the United States of America, Canada, and Mexico I extend to You our love, our solidarity, and our congratulations on the feast of Your patron saint. It is a special joy that our greeting is brought to You by Archpriest Nazari Polataiko, whom You ordained to the holy priesthood in the Kyiv Caves Lavra at the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in 2014. We regard Fr. Nazari as our ambassador to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and also as Your ambassador to the Orthodox Church in America.
We ask Your Beatitude for your holy prayers, and assure You of our prayers for You and Your holy church.
With love in the Lord,
Your brother and concelebrant,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada