Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine Onuphry
12.24.2018 No. 1717
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,