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With the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, Archpriest Nazari Polataiko, Rector of Los Angeles’ Holy Virgin Mary Cathedral and member of the OCA’s Office of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, represented the Orthodox Church in America at the celebration of the patronal feast of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv and All Ukraine June 24-25, 2019.
The occasion also marked Metropolitan Onufry’s fifth anniversary as Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and 75th birthday.
Thousands of hierarchs, clergy and faithful filled the square in front of the Monastery of the Caves’ Dormition Cathedral in the Ukrainian capital for the festal Divine Liturgy on June 25—the feast of Saint Onuphry the Great—at which Metropolitan Onufry presided. Concelebrants included official delegations representing the Churches of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and America. According to the
web site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the delegation from the Georgian Church, which was expected to attend, was unable to do so at the last minute.
Father Nazari read Metropolitan Tikhon’s congratulatory message to Metropolitan Onufry, the text of which appears below. He also presented, on behalf of Metropolitan Tikhon and the Orthodox Church in America, a relic of Saint Sebastian Dabovich. Each delegation representing the Sister Orthodox Churches also offered appropriate festive greetings.
A photo gallery is available online.
Congratulatory Greeting of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon to
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv and All Ukraine
Feast of Saint Onufry the Great
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Dear Brother in Christ and Concelebrant:
On this, the feast day of Saint Onufry the Great, we congratulate Your Beatitude on behalf of all the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful of the Orthodox Church in America.
Looking forward to Your Beatitude’s 75th Jubilee, we ask our Lord and Savior to strengthen in you the good cheer, health, wisdom and peace needed to persevere in your archpastoral ministry. May your ministry bring the love of Jesus Christ to all those given to Your Beatitude’s care. We pray that you and your faithful people—the bishops, parish clergy, monastics, and laity—may nurture reconciliation, peace, and mutual love in the Ukrainian nation.
Your ministry as a monastic and priest, as a diocesan bishop and now as first hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church followed the example given by your heavenly patron. Your Beatitude has met the challenges and the struggles of this world with love, peace and patience, truly being a man who is “continually good.” Our prayer is that our God, Who is merciful to all, will grant to you, as he did to Saint Onufry in the desert, shade from the heat and tribulations of this world, nourishment from the love of the faithful who surround you for the continuation of your ministry, and a guardian angel to lead you in all your endeavors.
With our representative to the Feast of Saint Onufry the Great we are sending to you the holy relic of Saint Sebastian Dabovich, the holy missionary priest canonized by His Holiness, Patriarch Irinej of Serbia. Archimandrite Sebastian served as a missionary in America in collaboration with Saint Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow during the years of Patriarch Tikhon’s episcopal service in America. Continuing his priestly ministry in Yugoslavia, Saint Archimandrite Sebastian reposed there in 1940 and was buried at the Monastery of Zicha. In 2007 his remains were brought back to California for reburial. Saint Sebastian’s journey is a sign of the connections between the Orthodox peoples of the Old Word and the New World, a sign of the missionary calling of the Holy Orthodox Faith, a sign of the unity of Orthodoxy.
The history of the Orthodox Church in America is deeply connected to Orthodoxy in Ukraine. Among the many Orthodox clergy and bishops who came to America from Ukraine is our late Metropolitan Leonty (Turkevich), born in a priestly family in Kremenetz and educated in the Kyiv Theological Academy. Today, many of those who emigrate to America from Ukraine are now parishioners of the Orthodox Church in America. Our participation in the major Orthodox events and celebrations in Ukraine is an important way to symbolize that we are not strangers and aliens to one another, but members together of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit unite us all—in America, in Ukraine, and in the whole world.
With love and brotherly affection,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada