Appeal from Metropolitan of Pochayiv Volodymyr with regards to rumors that have been spread about alleged export of Pochayiv Holy Relics out of Ukraine
March 22, 2015 Metropolitan of Pochayiv Volodymyr, Abbot of the Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra, published the appeal with regards to rumors that have been spread about alleged export of Pochayiv Holy Relics out of Ukraine as reports Department for External Church Relations of the UOC.
“Dear brothers and sisters, dear contemporaries and fellow countrymen!
Glory be to God, the Lord has vouchsafed us this year to go through more than half of Great Lent. This time of year, for us Orthodox Christians is very special. According to the teaching of the Church, Lent is seen as being both “soul-saving and favorable”. We analyze the image of our lives, repent and mend and remember that life on earth – is merely a preparation for the future, for eternity.
Unfortunately, after the third Sunday of Great Lent, the Veneration of the Cross, the mass media started to make accusations against the inhabitants of Pochayiv Lavra. Once again, old accusations are being repeated: namely, that Holy Relics are being exported, anti-Ukrainian sentiment within the Lavra and the like. St Apostle Paul warns us: Do not listen to those who cause divisions and offences between you, they that are such serve not God (Rom. 16:17).
I, as Abbot of Pochayiv Lavra, assure you all that the Holy Relics, to which both we and pilgrims daily pray, are in their place. I invite everyone to come and worship them, because it is through the Holy Relics that the grace of God acts and enlightens our minds and hearts, if with faith we accept this grace.
Who, in your opinions, do you think are the visible custodians of our monastery relics? The answer is: the Abbot and the brethren of the monastery. We bear a responsibility – to guard, as the apple of one’s eye, that we ourselves were bequeathed, and then to subsequently hand down to those who come after us, for posterity.
A living example of how carefully the Pochayiv relics were preserved and defended, are testified to by events from the second half of the twentieth century where the Pochayiv monks were convicted several times for not leaving the Lavra and for not allowing it to be converted into a museum and a centre of atheism.
Pilgrims who visit the Pochayiv Lavra see how this shrine, has in recent years, been transformed into a glorious temple built on the Pochayiv hill. Does this not testify to the fact of how the brothers of the monastery care about this Holy Place?! Be on your guard! Unfortunately, there are forces that divide our people and divert it from God. Do not listen to those who spread gossip and lies that in Pochaiv, we do not pray for Ukraine and our nation. In fact, we fervently pray for “our God-holding nation” – for Ukraine, and in the prayer “of peace for all the world” clerics pray and for peace in the whole world.
Some may ask, “Why is there no peace in our country?” This may be simply because people do not live their lives in as righteous and devout way as Christians must do. And we may ask in our turn: “What percentage of people actually attends church services every Sunday?”
Once again I assure you that Lavra relics are in their place, and implore you not to listen to those, who have for the past fifteen to twenty years been saying that everything has been taken from the Lavra. To where would we export? This is our spiritual home that we dearly love and to which we have dedicated our very lives. The brothers of the Lavra – are your fellow countrymen who might have been once villagers or may have been close relatives, grandchildren, they have hence devoted that what is most precious – their youth and life. This can be seen by all who visit the Lavra.
St Apostle Peter says: beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness (2 Pet. 3:17). Let us live in peace and harmony, for so teaches us our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. He promised that if we fulfill this and the other commandments, then he shall take us up to our heavenly fatherland after our earthly lives – something that I wish for all of you. May God help us with rejuvenated souls and enlightened hearts live so till Holy Week, after which we may celebrate the glorious day of Christ’s Resurrection”.