Zaporozhye (Zaporizhia, the Ukraine), May 6, 2014
On May 4, a cross procession gathering many thousands of participants took place. Three holy shrines were borne in the procession--from the north, west and the south of the Ukraine.
The solemn church procession was led by church banners and icons of the "Tolga" Mother of God from the Convent of Presentation of the Holy Virgin in Nizhyn, the "Pochayiv" icon of the Mother of God from the Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra, and an Icon of Holy Hierarch Luke of Crimea with a portion of his relics from Simferopol Diocese, accompanied by Paschal hymns and concluded with a prayer service before the wonder-working icons at the cathedral. It has become a token of spiritual unity, the testimony of love and the triumph of faith, reports Pravoslavie v Ukraine.
"The today's event can be called a miracle and mercy of God as well as proof that the Resurrection of Christ unites all of us,” said Archbishop Luke of Zaporozhye and Melitopol. “This means that we are united in Christ, our faith brings us together and our faith will save us all. The Holy Church gives an opportunity to see the true path, which we followed after the glorious icons of the Queen of Heavens. The Holy Theotokos visited one of Her portions in order to defend us by Her special protection, Her prayer".
The Archbishop of Zaporozhye also called upon the diocesan clergy and laity not to divide into "friends" and "foes". "We all are equal before God. And Christ unites all of us. We are tiny particles of His Body, for the Head of our Church is Jesus Christ, and we are its (the Church's) members. Let our prayer not weaken. So let us take the trouble to address God, and the Queen of Heaven. And, speaking to God in our prayers, let us pray for our motherland, the Ukraine, so that the Mother of God should reconcile everyone, that the Ukrainians should hear each other. Parents did not bring up children so their blood could be shed; they brought up children so that they should rejoice, that our motherland should flourish, and the parents themselves should rejoice in their old age," stressed the hierarch.
At the prayer service at the cathedral the Litanies of Fervent Supplication and of Peace were delivered with prayer requests to God for peace in the Ukraine, and also a prayer was read, during which everybody prayed on bended knee for peace in the country.
"On these days—from Easter to Ascension—we do not kneel according to the church canon. But I believe that the Lord will not condemn us for this now, as we are eyewitnesses of the events in the Ukraine. A brother has raised his hand against brother, blood is being shed, people are being killed, representatives of the same faith are murdering each other. This spontaneously makes us kneel and lift our hearts in the prayer to God, so that all hostilities and disorders should stop," said archbishop.
After the prayer service Archbishop Luke served a litia for the dead, for the repose of all those killed in Odessa on May 2 and in the Ukraine over the period of the confrontation. "It is enough to accept just one view—the vision of Christ—and then the Lord will renew, transform and make us true children of Christ and of the Mother of God. And She, as the loving Mother of Her children, gives comfort, embraces and protects, covering us with Her maternal, precious omophorion," said the hierarch.