Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Onuphry

12.24.2018 No. 1717

His Eminence,
The Very Most Reverend Hilarion,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad

Your Emi­nence, Dear Vla­dy­ka!

I greet your holi­ness with wish­es for good health and the help of God in your exalt­ed and weighty min­istry!

Allow me to express to you and to the arch­pas­tors of the Russ­ian Church Abroad the earnest appre­ci­a­tion of the whole of the Ukrain­ian Ortho­dox Church and to thank you for the prayers and words of sup­port, expressed in the Epis­tle of the Syn­od of Bish­ops to the cler­gy and faith­ful of the Russ­ian Church Abroad of Novem­ber 27/ Decem­ber 10, 2018. We have an acute need for this today. The canon­i­cal Holy Ukrain­ian Ortho­dox Church and the God-lov­ing Ukrain­ian peo­ple are liv­ing through one of the most dif­fi­cult peri­ods in their his­to­ry. To our great anguish, as a result of unceas­ing acts of war in East­ern Ukraine, the con­stant threat from the Verk­hov­na Rada of Ukraine1 to adopt an entire series of anti-eccle­sial laws, and espe­cial­ly as a result of the anti-canon­i­cal med­dling of the Patri­ar­chate of Con­stan­tino­ple in the inter­nal life of our holy Ukrain­ian Ortho­dox Church, a cer­tain spir­i­tu­al chaos has appeared in the reli­gious life of Ukraine, under which are being vio­lat­ed not only the rights of reli­gious free­dom, but also the con­sti­tu­tion­al rights of our faith­ful.
Your extra­or­di­nary love in Christ and spir­i­tu­al co-suf­fer­ing warm our hearts and strength­en our hope in the mer­cy of God. With thank­ful­ness to God we endure all that the Lord allows for us. The Lord gives us to drink from the cup of sor­row, and with humil­i­ty and thanks­giv­ing to God we drink it. We believe that notwith­stand­ing all the temp­ta­tions allowed for us, the Church of Christ will con­tin­ue unbro­ken for­ev­er and the gates of hell shall not pre­vail against it.2

For our part, We assure you of Our gen­uine broth­er­ly love. We ask you also in future not to aban­don your intense prayers for the canon­i­cal Ukrain­ian Ortho­dox Church and her faith­ful chil­dren, for peace in the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, and also for the increase of love in the hearts of Ukraini­ans.

May the Great Shep­herd and Lord invig­o­rate your spir­i­tu­al and bod­i­ly strength, send down His rich mer­cies and boun­ties, that we may worthi­ly cross the thresh­old of the Nativ­i­ty fast and greet the Nativ­i­ty of our Lord Jesus Christ in joy, peace, and love.

I remain in broth­er­ly love in Christ,

+ Onuphry
Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine,
First Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church