Faithful Orthodox Christians have now come to the third week of Great and Holy Lent. During this solemn period, each Christian examines their conscience and heart before Almighty God, falling down before Him in repentance. It is also during this time that we are called to heighten our love and attention to the needs of our neighbor. And, as our Lord has taught us, anyone in need is our neighbor. I have learned with great sadness that the monastics of the brotherhood of the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra are being removed from their monastery as a result of political unrest in Ukraine. The Kiev Caves Lavra is the cradle of monasticism and spirituality of Kievan Rus and has been for over one thousand years. These very monks that are being removed are the stewards of this sacred place who helped restore the monastery in 1988, after they were allowed to return and restore monastic life and, finding the Lavra ravaged by war and suffering neglect at the hands of the Soviet government.
I want to reaffirm my continuing support and prayers, along with the clergy, monastics, and faithful of the Diocese of the Midwest, for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod, the abbot of the holy monastery, and all of the monastics and faithful who dwell there.
I call upon the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of the Midwest to increase their prayer and fasting during this time, entreating the Lord to have mercy on brotherhood of the Lavra, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
It is before the most Holy Gifts that the celebrant recites the prayers of St. Basil the Great asking the Lord to remember those who serve in governments and all civil authorities. We continue this prayer and ask the Lord to inspire the elected leaders of Ukraine and of all nations, “grant them a secure and lasting peace; speak good things into their hearts concerning thy Church and all Thy people, that we, in their tranquility, may lead a calm and peaceful life in all godliness and sanctity.”
Archbishop of Chicago and the Midwest