UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Prayers Offered at Crypt of Patriarch Mstyslav
His Eminence Metropolitan Antony represented His All-Holiness Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, in response to the Ukrainian government’s invitation to participate in the official commemoration in Kyiv of the 1000th anniversary of the repose of the Baptizer of Ukraine, St. Volodymyr the Great at the end of July this year. During this visit to the Ukrainian capital, the Metropolitan had the opportunity to meet briefly with Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP). The two hierarchs had the opportunity to discuss the ecclesiastical situation in the nation following the collapse of unity talks between the Kyivan Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC). Unfortunately, attempts to speak with hierarchs of other churches in Ukraine were rejected by those hierarchs for reasons unknown.
Patriarch Filaret informed Metropolitan Antony during their meeting that he would be traveling to the United States in September to participate in the blessing of a monument erected in a location not far from Chicago, IL, which memorializes the “Nebesna Sotnya” (those murdered by government agents during the Kyiv Maidan protests in early 2014). Following this blessing the Patriarch was to travel to Washington, D.C. for a conference dealing with present day issues in Ukraine and he suggested that he would like to visit St. Andrew Metropolia Center in South Bound Brook, NJ – the headquarters of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. Metropolitan Antony welcomed the suggestion as an opportunity to continue the discussions about the future of Ukrainian Orthodoxy in Ukraine and for Patriarch Filaret to offer prayers for Patriarch Mstyslav who headed the UAOC in Ukraine until his death in 1993.
That visit took place on 22 September with a meeting in the Consistory offices followed by a tour of the Metropolia Center, the Memorial Church, St. Sophia Seminary and the crypt of Patriarch-Metropolitan Mstyslav. Patriarch Filaret informed Metropolitan Antony and Bishop Daniel during their private meeting about recent events in the life of the Church of Ukraine and the continued efforts at dialogue with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other Churches around the world in order to help them understand the difficult circumstances of ecclesiastical life in today’s Ukraine and the difficult times the citizens of the nation are enduring as the conflict in Eastern Ukraine continues unabated. He described the UOC-KP’s continued efforts in support of injured soldiers on the front lines by supplying ambulances to transport these soldiers from the front line to hospitals further west in Ukraine for proper treatment of their wounds. The Patriarch also spoke of the establishment of a military chaplaincy school, which has been established with nearly all of the clergy of a specific age group being trained to provide spiritual care for young men and women fighting in defense of Ukraine.
Metropolitan Antony and Bishop Daniel informed the Patriarch, who was accompanied by V. Rev. Alexander Trofymliuk of the Kyivan Theological Academy (UOC-KP), about recent meetings in which they participated and the words of support offered by hierarchs from around the world for the Church in Ukraine and the Ukrainian nation. The prayers offered by these hierarchs and many other people around the world would certainly have an enormous influence for a positive outcome in Church life. Our bishops promised to continue their prayers and efforts toward the resolution of ecclesiastical disunity in Ukraine.