UOC-MP Orthodox Archbishop Visits Ukrainian Guest Workers in Madrid and Barcelona
03.06.2009, [10:38] // UOC-MP //
UKRAINE-SPAIN--On May 29-31, 2009, with the blessing of the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Volodymyr and at the invitation of the Orthodox parishes of Madrid and Barcelona, Archbishop Serhii of Ternopil and Kremenets paid a visit to Spain.
On May 31 Archbishop Serhii celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the church of the parish of the Nativity of Christ in Madrid. Praying at the Divine Liturgy were numerous believers, including many guest workers from the region of Ternopil. Concelebrating with Archbishop Serhii was the rector of the parish, Father Andrii Kordochkin, as well as the co-worker of the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Archpriest Mykolai Danylevych, and the clergy of the dioceses of Ternopil and Kremetnets, and of Korsun.
Addressing the compatriots with archpastoral word Archbishop Serhii emphasized the necessity of keeping the Orthodox faith in the difficult conditions that the Orthodox Ukrainians face as they work and live abroad. The hierarch called the faithful to trust themselves to the will of God, which has led them to this country; they might become a seed from which Orthodoxy will grow and strengthen here. It's not a secret that it is in this foreign land that many of our compatriots found their living faith in God, started to live a full-flooded church life that they had not conducted while living on native land. Therefore, to the archbishop's conviction, one should thank God for life abroad. Life may be difficult but it is beneficial for hearts and one should not forget his Motherland nor to return to his native land.
As a keepsake of the visit and the joint prayer Archbishop Serhii presented to the parish the icon of the Holy Martyresses Vera (Faith), Nadezhda (Hope), and Liubov (Love) and their mother Sophia, and called the believers to live those virtues the Martyresses were named after. The archbishop also donated an embroidered copy of the foot of the Mother of God of Pochayiv and a series of Ukrainian-language spiritual literature for the parish library.
Answering the warm archpastoral greeting of the hierarch, the rector of the parish Fr. Andrii Kordochkin shared his impression that it was as if Archbishop Serhii had not left Ukraine, since there he was surrounded by the flock of Ternopil. Fr. Andrii said that it was the Christian love that united the Ukrainians, Russians, Moldavians, Georgians, Spaniards and the faithful of other countries who visited the parish. The priest also asked for the archbishop's prayers for the resolution of the matter of allocation of land for the construction of an Orthodox church in Madrid.
After the Liturgy, Archbishop Serhii had a long conversation with the parishioners. That evening he read the akathists to the Icon of the Mother of God of Pochayiv, following which the hierarch was again surrounded by the believers wishing to receive answers to their personal questions and to ask the archpastor for prayers.
A day before, on May 30, the archbishop of Ternopil and Kremenets visited the Annunciation Parish of Barcelona, where he was met by the priest hegumen Seraphim (Pavlov).
He celebrated the Divine Liturgy, following which he donated to the parish the Icon of the Holy Martyresses Vera (Faith), Nadezhda (Hope) and Liubov (Love) and their mother Sophia, and had many conversations with the parishioners. During the stay in Barcelona Archbishop Serhii and his delegation called to the Cathedral where he bowed to the relics of the Holy Martyress Eulalia of Barcelona (IV