Pochaev (or Pochaiv: a town in the Ternopil region, Western Ukraine), January 2, 2016
On January 1, 2016, thousands of believers gathered at the Pochaev Lavra to commemorate Venerable Amphilochius of Pochaev (1894-1971) on the 45th anniversary of his repose, reports the Pravlife.org portal with reference to Pochaev.org.ua.
By tradition, the celebration began on December 31 with a procession of the cross with the venerable father’s precious relics. The saint’s shrine was solemnly carried from the cave church to the Holy Transfiguration’s Cathedral where it was placed for veneration of the faithful.
From about 4.00 PM the compline, small vespers and kathismas were read at the cathedral. During the Vigil service the akathist to St. Amphilochius was read after which the pilgrims venerated his holy relics and were anointed with holy oil. The anointing started at about 8.00 PM and lasted until 4.30 AM.
Two Divine Liturgies were celebrated at the cathedral on the night of January 1 and in the morning of the feast-day. The later service was headed by Metropolitan Mark of Khust and Vinogradovsk. Metropolitans Sergy of Ternopil and Kremenets, Pitirim of Nikolayiv and Ochakiv, Vladimir of Pochaev (Pochaiv), Archbishop Alexander of Gorodnitsa, Bishops Roman of Konotop and Hlukhiv, Clement of Irpen, Nafanail of Shumsk and numerous clergy concelebrated with him.
After the Liturgy the cross procession with the relics of St. Amphilochius walked through the territory of the Lavra. At the cave church to which the shrine was brought a prayer service then was performed and a prayer to the venerable father was read.
At the end of the festivity Metropolitan Vladimir of Pochaev, Abbot of the Lavra, delivered a sermon before the gathered worshippers. The hierarch stressed the spiritual significance of the ascetic labors of St. Amphilochius, thanked the bishops and all who had come to the monastery’s festival for their joint prayer, and greeted everybody with the coming great feast of the Nativity of Christ.
Venerable Father Amphilochius (secular name: Yakov Holovatyuk) of Pochaev was a wonderworker and visionary of the Pochaev Lavra. He entered the monastery at the age of 31, became a monk at the age of 38.
He had several duties at the monastery, and received the sick as an osteopath and medical assistant. In 1962 he prevented the closure of the Lavra’s Holy Trinity Cathedral for which he was sent by the communist authority to a mental hospital. After release from the hospital the holy elder returned to his native village of Malaya Ilovitsa (the Ternopil region) where he lived with his nephew, performed supplicatory prayer services, and healed the sick. At the instigation of local functionaries St. Amphilochius was brutally beaten by one of his relatives; the dying elder was taken to the Lavra and immediately tonsured into schema, after which his health was miraculously restored. Then the saint returned home where he prayed fervently and received the sick for the rest of his life. St. Amphilochius reposed in the Lord on January 1, 1971, aged 76. This great ascetic was canonized in 2002.