Pre-Lenten celebrations should be prayerful and sober, mindful of the suffering of our Orthodox brethren in Ukraine, says the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas commented on the suffering of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church during the session of the Diocesan Council of the Eastern American Diocese on Friday, February 3.
The EAD media office reports:
His Eminence commented on the prayerfulness of the holidays of Christ’s Nativity and the Theophany of the Lord, and stressed the need for the clergy and faithful of our Diocese to continue praying for peace and supporting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev & All Ukraine. The Metropolitan noted that the faithful in Ukraine are living under extremely difficult conditions, and while we have our pre-Lenten celebrations, bliny, etc. in the coming weeks, he instructed that these events should be sober, tempered by the knowledge of our brothers and sisters suffering in Ukraine.
The ROCOR Synod of Bishops also addressed the issue in December, when it “expressed its alarm over the aggression and violence directed against the life of the canonical Church on the territory of Ukraine, calling upon all those in positions of authority not to close their eyes but to lift their voices and insist on the reestablishment and observance of the elementary rights and religious freedoms of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry, the archpastors, pastors and many millions who constitute the flock of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.”
A petition has also been launched in the U.S., calling on the Orthodox jurisdictions and hierarchs there, and other Christian denominations and organizations, to raise their voice against the persecution of the UOC.