The participants of the annual thanksgiving prayer service at the monument of the Baptizer of Rus Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Volodymyr
December 26, 2009
Thanking All-Merciful God and Our Savior Jesus Christ, His Virgin Mother, Intercessor and Patroness of the humanity, all the saints of our land with the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called and Our Baptizer, Holy and Equal-to-the Apostles Prince Volodymyr, we prayerfully bid farewell to the year 2009.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church today comprises – 44 dioceses and 64 bishops; the UOC consists of 11 358 parishes, where 9573 clergymen bear their obedience (8938 priests and 653 deacons); the UOC comprises 22 theological educational establishments (2 academies, 7 seminaries and 13 schools), and also some 5000 Sunday schools; the UOC is 191 monasteries (96 men’s and 95 women’s), where 1955 monks and 3148 nuns bear their obedience; the UOC runs 85 print editions and 170 internet sites; the UOC comprises thousands of all-church, diocesan and parish educational and social projects, the UOC is many million and multinational Church of Ukraine.
2009 year of the Nativity of Christ and the 1021 year of the Baptism of Rus remain in our memory by their events, achievements, jubilees and manifestations of the God’s mercy to His Holy Church, the Ukrainian nation and our God-loving nation. Among the things that should remain in history of our Church, state and people, there are the following:
1. At the beginning of 2009, after the repose of ever-memorable His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church was held, taking part in which were the hierarchs, clergymen and laity of all the diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church elected the new Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.
2. The Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church confirmed the status of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. In accordance with the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church, ” The Ukrainian Orthodox Church shall be self-governing with the broad right of autonomy.. In its life and activity it shall be guided by the Tomos of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia of 1990 and by the Statute of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church confirmed by its Primate and approved by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.” (article VIII, paragraph 18).
3. In summer 2009 the first visit to Ukraine of the newly elected Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia took place. During the 10-day visit His Holiness the Patriarch conducted divine offices in all the three Lavras of Ukraine – the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Pochayiv Lavra and Svyatogorsk Lavra, and at St. Volodymyr’s Church of the ancient Chersonese, visited the UOC Dioceses of Donetsk, Horlivka, Simferopol, Rivne, Volyn, and Volydymyr-Volynskyy, Sts. Basil and Nicholas Monastery in Donbass, Holy Trinity Monastery in Simferopol, Holy Trinity Stauropegial Monastery of Korets and St. Nicholas Monastery of Horodok in Rivne region, Holy Dormition Svyatogorsk Stauropegial Convent of Zymne in Volyn region; communicated with clergy, monastics and laity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. The Patriarchal services at St. Volodymyr’s Hill, in all the three Lavras and Chersonese could be seen on air by millions of TV-viewers in Ukraine and abroad.
4. In 2009 the Primate of the autonomous Orthodox Church of Finland Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland made a visit to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. During his visit he called to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, the churches and monasteries of Kyiv and the Crimea.
5. In 2009 the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church convened in four sessions, in the course of which the issues of the internal and external life of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
6. The Church added two new bishops. Among the most important decision of the Synod – establishment of the three new Synodal Departments: for Family Matters, For Pastoral Care of Penitentiary System and Pastoral Care of the Cossack of Ukraine and spiritual and physical upbringing of youth, the decision to begin the dialogue preparation with those who stays out of unity with the Universal orthodoxy, aiming at overcoming divisions in the Ukrainian Orthodoxy; opening of the new monasteries and canonization of the saints.
7. In 2009 the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox glorified among the saints 13 locally venerated God-pleasers:
8. The Holy Hierarch Philaret (Humilevskyy) of Chernihiv;
9. Priest Theodosius (Levytskyy), of Balta;
* Hegumeness Rafaela (Тertatska), of Chyhyryn;
* Hegumeness Paraskeva (Rodymtseva), of Toply;
* Nun Helena (Bekhteeva), of Kyiv;
* Blessed Domnica (Lykvynenko), of Oleshkiv;
* Nun Anastasia (Romanova), of Kyiv.
The Elders of Hlynka Hermitage:
* Schema-Metropolitan Seraphim (Mazhuha);
* Schema-archimandrite Andronik (Lukach);
* Schema-archimandrite Seraphim (Romantsova).
The Elders of Sofronievo-Molchenk Hermitage:
* monk Sophronius (Batovrin);
* novice Sergius (Tikhonov);
* hieromonk Serapion.
Also the Holy Synod of the UOC established the commemoration of the Venerable Martyrs of Zverynets and the Holy Martyr Prince John of Putivl.
10. In 2009 the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine made 37 archpastoral visits to 23 dioceses of the UOC.
11. In 2009 the Most Reverend Hierarchs of the UOC consecrated 224 churches (among these His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr consecrated 35 altars and churches). During a year 149 new churches were founded in the UOC.
12. In 2009 the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed the pilgrimage trips of our compatriots to the shrines of the Holy Land, the Holy Mount Athos, the shrines of Greece, Italy (the relics of the Holy Hierarch Nicholas the Wonderworker in Bari and the Holy Hierarch Ambrose of Milan) and Russia.
13. In 2009 of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church celebrated 450 years of translation to Volyn of the Miracle-Working icon of the Mother of God. The All-Ukraine Sacred procession with the shrine visited Kyiv, and the dioceses of the center and North of Ukraine. The wonderworking icon was received in Canada, Italy, and Moscow at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. On the occasion of the jubilee the Holy Synod of the UOC established the order of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Pochayiv Icon of the Mother of God.
14. In 2009 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church celebrated 300th anniversary of repose of the Holy Hierarch Dimitry of Rostov. On the occasion of the anniversary the UOC Primate visited Rostov the Great, where he bowed unto the incorruptible relics of the saint, and the honorable hand of the Holy Hierarch was brought for veneration of the faithful to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra from the Church of St. Michael, Polonki village, the Diocese of Nizhyn. The Holy Synod of the UOC introduced the order of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Holy Hierarch Dimitry Tuptalo, Metropolitan of Rostov.
15. In 2009 at the blessing of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece the honorable hand of the holy Hierarch Spyridon of Tremithous visited Ukraine. The shrine was brought to Ukraine by its keeper – Metropolitan Nectarios of Kerkira, Paxoi and Diapontioi Nisoi. The All-Ukraine sacred procession with the relics was conducted.
16. In 2009 our Church celebrated 20th anniversary of restoration of the Kyiv Theological Seminary. For 20 years 4314 students graduated from it, and 1768 graduated from the Kyiv Theological Academy. For the period after revival of the Kyiv Theological Schools 333 people have received Candidate of Theology degree, and 10 people have become Theology Doctors. Today the teachers’ staff comprises 66 people, among whom there are 7 professors and 13 assistant professors. On the occasion of the jubilee the International academic research conference “theological and secular education: history of interrelations – modernity and perspectives” was held. In 2009 the archaeological cabinet was opened at the Kyiv Theological Academy.
17. In 2009 at the blessing of the UOC Primate the International and All-Ukraine Festivals, conferences and readings were conducted. The most prominent of them were: the ІХ International Holy Dormition Readings, the ІІ Holy Intercession International Educational Readings, the VІІ International Festival of Orthodox Cinema and Mass-Media “Pokrov”, the 1st International Festival of the Orthodox Mass-media, International Scientific Workshop Conference “Gogol as a prophet of word” (dedicated to the 200th birthday anniversary the writer) etc.
18. In 2009 under the auspices of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church together with the National Musical Academy of Ukraine the “Easter Choir Academy” was conducted.
19. In 2009 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church took part in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of liberation of Ukraine from German fascist invaders. In the museum of the Great Patriotic War the topical exhibition “Prayer for Ukraine” was opened, and the UOC Primate addressed the faithful and all Ukrainian nation with a special address.
20. In 2009 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church developed its own and joint informational projects (the brightest phenomenon of today’s informational TV-space is the religious-educational TV-channel “Glas”), carried out the enlightenment and social activities, promoting the projects created in previous years and starting the new ones in the information and education domains, in the sphere of work with the socially unprotected, aged and convicted people, with military servants, children and youth.
21. In 2009 the development of the design and estimate documentation and collection of approvals, necessary for the beginning of construction of the Resurrection Cathedral of the UOC and its Spiritual Educational Center is almost over. In the Church of All Saints in the construction site of the Cathedral the divine offices were performed on the regular basis. The exposition center “Soborna Gallery” was constructed for carrying out of the projects of the Spiritual Educational Center and for the assistance to construction. .
22. In 2009 the relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church with all the branches of the state power developed dynamically. In spite of the political and economical crisis, the discrepancies between the Church and state regarding the issues of resumption of the church property, teaching of religious subjects at schools and institutes, the ways of reunification of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy etc, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church gives a positive estimate of the level of the church-state relations and extend gratitude to the state for the measures aimed at enhancement of the social moral and for solution of the questions the Church turned with to the bodies of the state authorities. Among the most important:
* Ban of the gambling business in Ukraine;
* Establishment of the commemoration date of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Volodymyr as the state holiday – the day of Baptism of the Kyivan Rus;
* Passing of the Holy Dormition Cathedral of the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra into permanent use of the Church;
* Setting up the gas tariffs for the parishes equal to those for population;
* The decision on passing the church land from lease into permanent use of the religious communities;
* The decision on the reinstatement value of the green planting on the land plot under construction of the churches and monasteries.
It is with hope for God and His mercy that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church meets the coming year 2010 of the Nativity of Christ. The Church prays for peace and concord in the state and the society, for the authorities and the God-loving people.
On the eve of the elections of the President of Ukraine the Church prays that God grants us worthy state, which would take care of people, promote unity of the people of Ukraine and assertion of the high moral values in the society 0 those of love, fraternity, mutual help and respect.
In 2010 we are looking for the prominent events and anniversaries, among which are the following:
* 20th anniversary of the Tomos of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia who granted independence and self-governance to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
* The second visit to Ukraine of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
* 75th anniversary of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church His Beatitude metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine.
* The arrival to Ukraine of the Kursk “Root” Icon of the Mother of God and of the relics of the Holy Hierarch Demetrius of Thessalonika.
* Continuation of the sacred procession with the Pochayiv Icon of the Mother of God.
* The beginning of construction of the Holy Resurrection Cathedral of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We call the clergy and laity to the active prayerful and financial support in carrying out of this all-church activity for the glory of God and His Holy Church.
Once again we raise our gratitude to God for His great mercies to us, sinners, on the year that comes to an end and ask Him to bless the coming year with His grace, to calm down enmity, troubles and confrontation, to grant us peace, true and sincere love of each other, concord and pious life, to grant us abundant harvest, enough for everyone who needs it, to protect us during a year and for our life-time from all troubles, to strengthen us, the state and the nation in love of God and His Holy Church.
On behalf of the participants of the thanksgiving prayer service,
Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine
Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church