Ukrainian Orthodox Church
On July 27, His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine at his residence in the monastery of Saint Panteleimon of Theophany received the delegations of the Local Orthodox Churches, who came to Ukraine to participate in the celebrations on the 20th anniversary of Primatial ministry of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr at the Kyivan Throne.
Head of the delegation of the Constantinople Patriarchate Metropolitan Emmanuel of France conveyed fraternal greetings and prayerful good wishes of His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Metropolitan Emmanuel marked that the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Church of Constantinople are impressed by labors and deeds that His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr performs for many years as head of the Ukrainian Church, and stressed that relations between Kyiv and Constantinople continued to be tight and inseparable. Also the head of the delegation conveyed a panagia as a gift from Patriarch Bartholomew.
In his turn, His Beatitude said that the relations between the two Churches are very important, especially given the fact that in Ukraine a part of the bishops and faithful are in schism.
Metropolitan Peter of Axum, head of the delegation of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria, brought greetings from Patriarch Theodore II, noting that His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore loves Metropolitan Volodymyr and prays constantly for him.
Archon of the Patriarchate of Alexandria Spyridon Kalamakis greeted His Beatitude Volodymyr, saying:
“I feel very happy that for the second time I have an opportunity to kiss the hand of the holy man who had completely given himself to the Ukrainian Church, and whom we Alexandrians, honor with great love”.
Metropolitan Peter, on behalf of His Beatitude Patriarch Theodore of Alexandria offered to the UOC Primate the cross, which for three months stayed in the church at the Patriarchal residence.
On behalf of Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem Archbishop Theophylactus of Jordan passed to His Beatitude a greeting letter with wishes of good health for the benefit of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and offered as his gift a picture Bethlehem basilica.
His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr said a thanksgiving speech for the patriarch, noting that His Beatitude Theophilos always spoke well of the Ukrainian Church and supported morally and spiritually.
Head of Delegation of the Serbian Patriarchate bishop Irineus of Bačka conveyed greetings from Serbian Patriarch Irenaeus and the Holy Synod of the Serbian Church and wished good health and strength to the Primate of the UOC. Bishop Irenaeus also remembered when being a student he met with Metropolitan Volodymyr and received from him a blessing.
On behalf of Patriarch Irenaeus bishop Irenaeus presented the Primate a set of primatial panagias, one of which depicted a shrine venerated in Serbia – the Icon of the Theotokos of Pec.
On behalf of Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria and the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr was greeted by bishop Gabriel of Lovech, who said that he remembered metropolitan Volodymyr from the days of his service at the Rostov throne. Chairman of the Bulgarian delegation wished health, long life and eternal salvation to metropolitan. Bishop Gabriel gave the Primate of the UOC an icon of his heavenly patron – Prince Volodymyr and Bulgarian souvenirs as a present.
Next to greet the Archpastor was the delegation the Orthodox Church of Cyprus led by Metropolitan Vasileos of Constantia and Ammochostos, who wished that the Lord gave His Beatitude Volodymyr long life and ministry in the God-blessed Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and delivered a panagia from the Primate of the Church of Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos II of New Justinian and the whole of Cyprus.
On behalf of Metropolitan Savva of Warsaw and All Poland the Primate of the UOC was greeted by chairman of the delegation of the Polish Orthodox Church, Archbishop Abel of Lublin and Chelm.
Bishop Joachim of Hodonin greeted His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr on behalf of the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia, Metropolitan Christopher. Bishop Joachim gave Primate a vase made by Czech artists and invited him to come next year to the Czech Republic to celebrate the 1130th anniversary of the arrival in Moravia of Sts Cyril and Methodius.
On the same day the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was greeted by the delegation of the Orthodox Church of America and Canada, headed by the Archbishop Alexander Alexander of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese.
Bishop Alexander gave His Beatitude the icon of the saints of Alaska, stating:
“Arriving for the celebrations in Kyiv, we came to the Mother of the Russian cities and in some sense, these saints are your grandchildren, because they are the fruit of holiness, which first shone here in Kiev. And we pray to Alaskian saints so that their through prayers the Lord gave you good health and help to the Ukrainian Church”.
The day before, on July 26, His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine at his residence at Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra received the delegation of the Greek Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Nicholaos of Mesogeia and Lavreotiki.
Metropolitan Nicholas conveyed greetings to Metropolitan Volodymyr from the Primate of the Church of Greece Archbishop Hieronymos of Athens and all Greece and offered him an altar cross as a gift.
Also, Metropolitan Nicholaos shared his impressions from his first visit to Ukraine, noting that on this day a dream of his life came true and thanked His Beatitude for hospitality and wished that God strengthened his health and helped to perform his primatial ministry.
In turn, the Primate thanked the guests for the visit, noting that such a gathering is a testimony of love for our country and our Church.
The same day, His Beatitude received the delegation of the Georgian Orthodox Church led by Metropolitan Gerasim of Zugdidi and Tsaish.
The delegation conveyed to His Beatitude the greetings and congratulations by His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Elijah II, noting that all Georgia prays for the health of the Primate of the Ukrainian Church. Bishop Gerasim offered to Metropolitan Volodymyr the Pitsunda icon of the Mother of God as a gift.
On the occasion of the anniversary and for services to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Volodymyr conferred awards on the heads of the delegations – the Distinction of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and on the members of the delegations – the Orders ‘1020th anniversary of Baptism of Kievan Rus’.
Also the Primate offered memorable gifts to the Primates of the Local Churches.