Sunday, August 07, 2005

Metropolitan Valentine Makes Pastoral Visit to Ukraine and Southern Russia, and Presides at Celebration in Moscow

(Suzdal Diocesan Bulletin - Vertograd, Smela (Ukraine) - Sukhodol (Ukraine) - Sovetka (Rostov province) - Sukhumi - Moscow - Suzdal)

On June 23rd, His Eminence Metropolitan Valentine, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church, and His Grace Ilarion, Bishop of Smela, served evening services in the cathedral Church of the Mother of God dedicated to Her icon “Joy of All Who Sorrow” in the town of Smela in the Cherkassk province of the Ukraine. On the following day, June 24th, they served the Divine Liturgy, at which all present communed the Body and Blood of Christ.

On June 25th, Metropolitan Valentine, together with His Grace Geronty, Bishop of Sukhodol, served the all-night vigil, and the Divine Liturgy on the following day, June 26th, in the cathedral Church of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg in the city of Sukhodol, Lugana province, Ukraine. At the Divine Liturgy, at the behest of His Grace Geronty, Hieromonk Boniface, a servant of the altar for more than 10 years, was raised to the rank of Igumen, and Deacon Alexander Selikhov was ordained to the priesthood. After the Divine Liturgy, all present were invited to trapeza, at which Mr. S. I. Yakubov, head of the local city administration, and his staff, were in attendance. After the trapeza, Metropolitan Valentine awarded Mr. Yakubov, Mrs. V. I. Lisitsa, director of a local school, and Mr. V. V. Tokarov, the starosta of the church, with letters of appreciation. The Metropolitan inspected three chapels, which were built through the care and efforts of His Grace Bishop Geronty, Archimandrite James (Antonov), Mrs. V. I. Lisitsa, and Mr. V. V. Tokarov.

Metropolitan Valentine then met with Igumen Artemy (Smitchenko), rector of the Suzdal synodal metochion in the town of Sovetka, who was also given a letter of appreciation for his help in fixing up the metochion. The dean of the Stavropol circuit of the Suzdal diocese of the ROAC, Archpriest George Novakovsky, and the rector of St. Olga’s Church in the city of Zheleznovodsk, Archpriest Roman Novakovsky, informed the Metropolitan about the continuing persecutions against the clergy and people of the Russian Orthodox (Autonomous) Church, which are being organized by Theophan (Ashurkov), head of the Stavropol diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate, with the help of the local and regional authorities. During the course of his trip throughout the northern Caucasus, Vladyka Valentine also visited Abkhazia.

On July 16th and 17th, for the feast of the holy Royal Martyrs, His Eminence Metropolitan Valentine presided at the all-night vigil and Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Holy Royal Martyrs located in the Golovin cemetery in Moscow, where he was joined by the rector of the church and dean of the Moscow circuit of the Suzdal diocese, Archpriest Michael Ardov, and Fr. Deacon Alexis Sokolov.

On July 17th, Metropolitan Valentine returned to Suzdal.