Pilgrimage in Ukraine (2010-08-15)

Archbishop Seraphim : Report
Pilgrimage in Ukraine
15-31 August, 2010

The pilgrimage in Ukraine began at various times. The main group arrived in L’viv on 17 August from Canada. For Protodeacon Nazari Polataiko and me, it began on 15 August with the ending of the my previous private pilgrimage in Romania, at the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy for the Dormition of the Theotokos at the Dormition Monastery of Putna, west of Suçeava (quite near the Ukrainian border). Protodeacon Nazari had accompanied two bishops, a priest and a deacon from Ukraine the day before, to participate in this historic Divine Liturgy.

After all the services and festivities had concluded, we drove to Chernivtsi (Cernauti in Romanian), to spend the night at the metropolitanate of Metropolitan Onouphry. This metropolitanate is a complex of residences, offices and diocesan shops, all next door to the Sobor of Saint Nicholas. There, at the end of supper, there was an impromptu vocal concert on the “patio”, which was given by some members of a well-known Moscow family of 9 children (whose father is a priest). The mother and children (4 of the children had remained in Moscow) sang a series of very pleasant spiritual songs of the more modern sort. It was good preparation for retiring as we sat beneath the grape-arbours in the twilight on that warm evening. Such pilgrimages as this have generally presented to the participants not only an encounter with the Ukrainian Church (the source of our main immigrations in the past) and her many saints, but they also have given to some an opportunity to visit relatives for a few days.

On Monday, 16 August, after breakfast, we began the six-hour drive over the Carpathian Mountains and onto the rolling hills to the west, to Khoust, in the province of Trans-Carpathia (Zakarpatiya), to visit Archbishop Mark (Petrovtsiy), who had previously served for 11 years in Canada as the administrator of the Moscow Patriarchate Parishes. On arrival in the late afternoon (and after tea), we walked around the territory of the diocesan administration building that is under construction : a large Temple which is nearly completed, and an office-building one-third built, and the residence. At this time, we also met Vladyka’s elder brother, the retired Bishop Mefodiy. Then we began a visit to 2 monasteries. The Monastery of Saint Nicholas is near the Village of Khoust, and there are the relics of the very effective Missionary Priest-monk Aleksy of the earlier 20th century. The monastery, led by Archimandrite Andrian, does not own its original monastic quarters, since these are now occupied by a Tuberculosis Sanatorium, and there is neither a reason nor the means to move the hospital to another place. There is a general peaceful co-existence. The monks certainly work hard. Then we drove some distance into the mountains to visit the Archangel Michael Monastery, which is led by Igumenia Metrodora, and the Spiritual Father, Archimandrite Partheny. Here we prayed, and here we were given supper. The warm Christian hospitality of our people is always remarkable. After this, we returned via Khoust to the Monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos, where Protodeacon Nazari and I would be staying over for 2 nights.

On Tuesday, 17 August, the Priest John Shandra came to meet us at the monastery, where we were given breakfast by the Abbess Evgenia and her nuns. Father Shandra had served the Moscow Patriarchate parishes in Alberta for 8 years, and he was well-loved by his people. He also has had (and does have) good relations with our people. He accompanied us first to the Bishop’s residence, to collect Vladyka Mark’s brother, Protodeacon George Petrovtsiy, who would be driving us for the rest of the day. Then we went to the village-centre, to greet Vladyka Mark in his office, and afterwards to tour the new cathedral next door. This building has been under construction for some years. The exterior stucco is completed, and the interior stucco is almost completed. By next spring, enough money should have been collected to install the heating, so that services can continue all year round. This year, regular week-end services began to be served in this building from May. The diocese has changed very considerably since the last visit of a bus-load of Canadians on a pilgrimage five years ago. Church life is becoming visibly abundant ; and so, too, is the manner of daily life amongst the people. Then we drove to the Monastery of Uglai, which is led by Abbess Catherine. On the grounds of this very old monastery (which had suffered closure under the Austro-Hungarian Empire) is buried the body of the last (until recent times) Orthodox Bishop of Maramuresh (Maramures), Dosifei (Dosoftei), who reposed in 1735, and who has now been glorified by the Romanian Church. A Confessor, he maintained and developed Orthodox life in this area until his death, despite being imprisoned many times for doing so. At this monastery, there were also 330 Monk-Martyrs, who were killed at about the same time. Their bodies repose also in the cemetery, although the particular graves have never been marked. Then we drove to a remote rural mountain parish, which has the relics of the Confessor, the Priest-monk Iov. He had lived as a hermit in these mountains, and he had helped very many people in communist times. Recently glorified, his memory is kept on 22 September. After having dinner with the parish priest and some others, we drove back to Khoust, where we collected Vladyka Mark. Vladyka then led us to several other monasteries and hermitages in the area, each with a significant history and each with a current Orthodox Christian witness in the region. We also visited his home village. In the evening, we visited the Ascension Women’s Monastery and its Abbess, Theodosia. This women’s monastery numbers over 40, and suffers a little from an age-problem. This is mainly because the community has provided many nuns to other monasteries as abbesses. At the end of the day, we returned to the Nativity Monastery, and to the opportunity to sleep.

On Wednesday, 18 August, we had a brief cup of tea with the Abbess Evgenia. Afterwards, we were driven by Protodeacon George Petrovtsiy to the bishop’s residence for breakfast, where we had a conversation with Archbishop Mark about life in Canada, and about life in Ukraine. Then, after saying our farewells, we were driven by a Khoust parishioner and his son to Pochaiv. This is a drive that requires at least 5 hours’ time (depending on traffic and speed). On arrival, we were shown to the newly-built pilgrim-hostel, where we were given rooms, and where we joined the pilgrim-group from Canada and Igumen Alexander (Pihach). We also saw the construction work that had been begun on a new, large Temple, which is just next to the hostel. After a collation, it was time to serve Vigil, along with Archbishop Vladimir, at 1700 hrs. The Temple was full, and the 3 choirs sang strongly and beautifully. During the Vigil, we had time to speak to Fathers Gabriel and Ioann, who had accompanied the Pochaiv Icon of the Theotokos to Canada, and who were asking about our faithful people. Then, after supper, we retired for the night. Change comes with “modernisation”. At the same time as the new pilgrim-hostel is very convenient, quite a lot of noise has been added from the new adjacent parking-lot, through which also pass construction vehicles and machines. However, within the old Monastic Enclosure, the noise is not evident. When I first visited Pochaiv, there were 40 monks ; now, during this visit, there were more than 200 hundred in residence.

On Thursday, 19 August, from 0900 hrs, the group was led to the cave by the Lower Temple, in order to venerate the relics of Saints Job and Amphilokhiy. Afterwards, we were brought upstairs to the Upper Temple, where we venerated the Wonder-working Icon of the Theotokos of Pochaiv. It had been lowered from its usual place above the Royal Doors. We venerated the Foot-print of the Theotokos after the completion of the Divine Liturgy for this Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ. Archbishop Vladimir and I served together, along with 16 priests and 6 deacons. One of the priests was the Mitred Archpriest Feodor Smakouz. He is the father of Bishop Iov who currently serves in Edmonton, Alberta. Father Feodor has served for 50 years as a priest, and he remains energetic. Bishop Iov was born in a building of the Pochaiv Monastery which, in communist days, was hospital. There were many communicants, since very many persons had been to confession during the evening. At the conclusion of the Liturgy (the Ouspensky Temple was full and over-flowing), there was the blessing of the fruit, and a procession around the Temple, during which priests were blessing baskets of fruit (and also the people) with Holy Water. On returning, there followed the post-Communion prayers, the veneration of the Foot-print, and dinner. Some took dinner in the hostel, but the 3 clergy ate with Archbishop Vladimir in his abbatial quarters. There were substantial reminiscences about the Visit to Canada of the Wonder-working Icon of the Theotokos of Pochaiv. Archbishop Vladimir commented that although the monks are numerous now, it is notable that because of westernising mentality, only a few of those who come to try to live the repentant life manage to stay. At that time, arrangements were made for the later afternoon’s visits.

In the mean time, the pilgrim-group went on its own to visit the area round about Pochaiv, and in particular the blessed Spring of Saint Anne. The clergy, with Archbishop Vladimir, in the early evening drove to the city of Kremenets, not far from Pochaiv, to visit the Women’s Monastery there. It had been many years since I had visited this monastery, and miraculous has been the transformation. All the original monastic buildings have been returned to the nuns, and they are all in use. The buildings had been being used as a hospital during communist days. The Temples are all restored and in use. There are 2 serving priests. Whereas before, there had been real poverty and fewer than 20 nuns, now there are at least 80 nuns, and their domestic economy is in good condition. We arrived in time for part of Matins, which was being served by Archbishop Sergei of Ternopil, whom I had not seen for a long time. He is one of the most stable, joyful personalities I have ever known, and full of Christ’s love. After having had supper together with him and the abbess, we began to make our return to Pochaiv. However, before leaving, we were introduced to the sister of Bishop Iov (in Edmonton), Mother Cherubima. She has many of the pleasing characteristics we have seen in her brother. Then it was time to return to Pochaiv, and to sleep.

On Friday, 20 August, we rose to have a parting breakfast-tea with Archbishop Vladimir and Archbishop Sergei (who had spent the night in this monastery), while the pilgrims went to find food (no food is served in the morning in the hostel because of the Divine Liturgy which is served daily). The conversation was very lively, and was concerned mostly with current Church life. We pilgrims then set off northwards, in the direction of Lutsk. We had intended to visit the historic Zimny Monastery of the Caves in Vladimir Volynsk ; but the road we had to take was in such poor condition that it would have taken us much longer than we expected or had time available. Therefore, we decided to stop in Lutsk, and to visit on the way the Safe-House near there, which was nearly finished in its reconstruction and extensions. This project, developed by our Canadian NASHI group, has been intended to save young women and children from the sex-trade, and from human trafficking. It was anticipated that the building (which will house up to 18 persons) will be able to begin functioning early in the new year. Nearby was the Temple which would be consecrated on the following Sunday. We went on to Lutsk, settled into our lodgings on the outskirts, and rested from quite a bumpy journey. The reason for staying in Lutsk was, in principle, because it is nearer to our Sunday destination than is L’viv.

On Saturday, 21 August, we rose, and after breakfast, we were taken to see the historic fortress of Lutsk, which was built in the 14th century. The castle has many interesting historic displays, and it is in good condition. There was a pause for a visit to the bazaar, then tea-time, and then we went to Vigil at the Church of the Protection, the present cathedral of Metropolitan Nifont of Lutsk. There have been many changes there also since the last visit 15 years ago. At that time, there was only this one Temple (which has foundations that date from the 12th century) available to the canonical Church. This Temple was also one of the smaller ones in the town. This was because the Kyivan Patriarchate had taken over all the other Temples by force 16 years previously. Nowadays, by contrast, there are 20 places available to the canonical Church for serving the Divine Liturgy in the city, even if all 20 do not have actual Temples, but “temporary” locations. In Volyn, the Canonical Church outnumbers the “patriarchate”, but statistics have not shown this fact truly and honestly, since the government has been controlled by this “patriarchate”. Now, things begin to level out. The Volyn Seminary in Lutsk, which had been re-founded by Father Peter Vlodek (who served 30 years ago in Edmonton), has grown to have 120 students, and it serves all western Ukraine. Later, Metropolitan Nifont invited us to send any students we wish to the Volyn Seminary.

On this evening, I served together with Metropolitan Nifont, and I anointed about 300 persons during Matins. During Vespers, I had also been interviewed for television. Many things are different nowadays. In my opinion, Metropolitan Nifont is one of the living Confessors. He had been severely beaten 16 years ago because of his faith. The Lord has been blessing his work, indeed. The cathedral, although small, has 3 choirs, and the people seem to sing along as much as possible. After Vigil, and warm farewells from the faithful, there was supper in the metropolitan’s residence for the bishops and some of the clergy. At that time, Father Peter Vlodek was still teaching at the age of 87 (although he was doing no more administration), and he stood throughout the whole of Vigil. He was remembering fondly his parishioners in western Canada, and he was asking after many of them. Father Shymko, who also had served in Alberta, has reposed some years ago. After again bidding farewell with regret, we then returned to the hotel for rest.

On Sunday, 22 August, we rose to depart at 0700 hrs for Stoyaniv, and for the consecration of the new Temple. Once details were organised, Archbishop Avgustin of L’viv and Galich and I were formally greeted, and we entered the Temple which was to be blessed in honour of Saint Parasceva. The whole service went quickly, largely because of the manner of Vladyka Avgustin’s serving. The “support-choir” from L’viv sang very beautifully. There were approximately 300 persons participating, both inside and outside the Temple. Amongst the participants were the new Governor of the L’viv Oblast (an “oblast” is like a province), and the Ukrainian Consul who presently serves in Ottawa, who was about to end his term there. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, there were many gramotas and awards distributed, and then we went to a special hall, where a dinner had been prepared for many. There were, as expected on such an occasion, many speeches, many toasts, and many conversations that lasted until mid-afternoon. At that time, the L’viv participants made their departures by bus and by car. The rest of us stayed, with many parishioners, to talk and to listen to many spiritual songs and folk-songs being sung by some parishioners. We ate again, and we talked more, and we did not depart for Lutsk until early evening. On arrival, near 2200 hrs, we retired, and prepared for the morning’s departure.

On Monday, 23 August, after an early breakfast, we set off first for Ternopil. Even though the distance is not great by North American standards, it takes at least twice as long as we would expect to take to travel a similar distance, because the roads are uneven, and the roads pass through many villages. Often, these villages have domestic animals near or on the roads. On arriving in Ternopil, we went to the Cathedral of the Pochaiv Icon of the Theotokos, the cathedral of Archbishop Sergei. I had been present in 1994 for the laying of the foundation-stone of this cathedral. By now, the whole structure of the Temple has been completed, and part of it is now in daily use. This part is the lower Temple of Saint Sophia and her Children. Some people might call it a basement Temple, but it is not very deep into the ground. The upper Temple of the Theotokos is not yet being used, because its mosaics and frescoes are being prepared at this time. It is expected that it will be a couple of years yet before the sanctification could take place. After touring this building and the office-building next door, we were driven to a nearby village (where Vladyka Sergei lives), and we were given dinner quickly, before making our way to the south. The civil authorities in this city always make things difficult for the Canonical Church. They allowed the construction of a rather ugly Roman Catholic church opposite the cathedral, and also an auto-sales building immediately in front of it, so as to block the visibility from the main street beside which the cathedral is situated. This is the only Canonical Temple in this heavily-churched city. Indeed, according to statistics, Ternopil and L’viv have the most churches per capita of any cities in the world. On the way to Chernivtsi, we passed by several villages whose names provide familiar place-names in Alberta and Saskatchewan. By 1800 hrs, we arrived at Chernivtsi. The clergy were settled into the guest-rooms of the metropolitanate, and the others went to their hotel-rooms. Metropolitan Onouphry returned from the cathedral at about 1930 hrs, and supper was offered. After that, it was time to retire.

24 August is Independence Day for Ukraine, and Ukraine celebrated in this year the 19th year of having a restored independent government. Metropolitan Onouphry travelled to Kamenets-Podilsk for the name-day Divine Liturgy of Archbishop Feodor, and several Canadians travelled to visit their ancestral villages. After breakfast, the clergy of our number visited in the rooms of the two men of our pilgrims who would be spending an over-night in Romania, while seeing 5 of the historic monasteries of Bukovina. Afterwards, we were given a brief tour of a university, which had once been the centre of the Autonomous Metropolia of Bukovina (under Serbia, during the Austro-Hungarian Empire). After this, we visited a few other historic places in the city. We were given dinner at the Presentation of the Lord Women’s Monastery (led by Igumenia Melitinia). This monastery, established in 1904, had originally been a skete with a domestic chapel. In Soviet times, it was closed. Now, there are several modern buildings, and a new Holy Trinity Temple, with an upper and lower Temple, and also a good population of nuns. After this visit, we visited the nearby Museum of Olga Kobilyanskaya, a famous poetess, writer and early feminist, who had been a correspondent of Lev Tolstoy, and also a friend of Lesya Ukraina. Some of her works have been translated into English in Canada, and there were some samples visible amongst the displays. Then we returned to the metropolitanate. After a little rest, we took supper together with Metropolitan Onouphry, during which we discussed possibilities for future exchanges concerning our youth to our mutual benefit, and then it was time to retire.

On Wednesday, 25 August, we took breakfast together, and then we set off to visit the nearby eastern side of the Carpathian Mountains, where there is being constructed an international ski-resort. It is my opinion that this resort, when completed, will appear to be more natural in its setting than does the resort at Québec’s Mont-Tremblant. After this, we stopped at some very old farm-steads in the forest, and then we passed through Chernivtsi towards the east, and on to the Village of Boian (after which a village in Alberta is named).

In Boian, we venerated the Wonder-working Icon of the Theotokos, and we were given dinner by the nuns of the Women’s Monastery of the Protection. At that time, their population was 115, and they were very much involved in the life of the Bancheni Orphanage not far away. It was this orphanage that was our next stop. This orphanage I had visited previously, and it is an integral part both of the Boian Women’s Monastery and of the Bancheni Men’s Monastery of the Ascension. Their Abbot Longin has personally adopted every one of the 250 children, in order to protect them from predators (in state-orphanages, the orphans are sent away on their own and with no resources at age 16). We visited each of the 3 main houses of the children, where the nuns are the main care-givers. It is impossible not to be deeply moved by the children and the youths. Many are in good health, but there are some with serious disabilities. One group of children suffers from AIDS, and they live in separate quarters in a distinct building (for protection from infection). Nevertheless, it was reported that there were recently 6 verified healings. It was clearly stated that because of the nature of this orphanage, each healing had to be medically and scientifically confirmed. Those now healthy children had joined the others without special needs. The orphanage and the Ascension Monastery were preparing for the wedding of one of the now-adult children of the orphanage-family, the third such marriage. This was to take place after the coming Feast of the Dormition. Some of the children have graduated from school and have proceeded on to higher education. Some of these have returned to help their adoptive siblings. The Men’s Monastery of the Ascension farms 450 hectares of land, in order to feed the nuns, the 95 monks, the children, and the many voluntary workers and paid workers. All participate in some way. Again we were fed, both at the orphanage and at the monastery. In due time, we returned to Chernivtsi, and to supper with the family of our Protodeacon Nazari.

On Thursday, 26 August, we rose for an early breakfast. Along with Metropolitan Onouphry and the Archpriest Michael Sava (of Saint Anne’s), we made an early departure in order to visit a historic Jewish settlement at Medzhebizhi, some 250 km distant from Chernivtsi (beyond Khmelnitsky). In this town, there had been a very great massacre of Jewish residents during World War II. Here, we had expected to find some sort of display of older buildings, which would present an example of the appearance of this pre-World War II settlement. Instead, we found a new synagogue and some other new buildings, together with some older homes, all labelled in modern Hebrew (only 18 in number). These homes appeared to be no different from the present-day Ukrainian homes nearby. All that we were able to understand from neighbours is that most present-day Jewish persons in the town are vacationers from Israel, and that there is an annual festival in honour of the memory of a well-known righteous rabbi and physician, who is buried at this place. After walking about the area, we viewed the walls of an old fortress.

Then we drove back in the direction of Chernivtsi, and we stopped for a picnic lunch beside the road, on the edge of a field that was being harvested. We continued on from there to Khotin, where we toured an old fortress that had been built on the banks of the Dniester River, as an anti-Turkish defence. This fortress had been built when this area belonged to Romania. Beside it is the Temple of Saint Alexander Nevsky, which we also visited. After talking with the Rector of Khotin, we drove on through to Chernivtsi (it was a very full day of driving because of the roads), where we collected Protodeacon Nazari. He had been attending to the needs of the pilgrims who were now returning to the city, and we went on to supper with various members of the family of Metropolitan Onouphry (whose cousin had arrived from New Jersey for a month of visiting with her family). We then returned to the metropolitanate, and to retire for the night. Meanwhile, the pilgrims had returned from their visits, and also had retired in their hotel.

On Friday, 27 August, we rose as usual. The 2 men of our pilgrim-number who had visited Romania had returned safely, and they now departed for L’viv on the bus, in order to prepare for an early departure for Kyiv. The women moved to a hotel closer to the cathedral. Father Alexander and Protodeacon Nazari attended to the details of the travelling needs of all during the middle part of the day. We were then given dinner, which was followed by a time to rest. Then we participated in the Vigil at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (which has a staff of 10 priests, besides the deacons). The Vigil began at 1700 hrs, and continued until 2045 hrs. I suppose that there were more than 1,000 to be anointed, and there were 2 priests helping me to do this. Metropolitan Onouphry, Bishop Meletiy and I served together in Matins. The cathedral has a new floor, and the 2 kliros choirs have new elevated places, leaving more space beneath them where people can stand. There were 3 choirs singing at this time, although we were told that in school-time, there is a fourth choir (of children). The people constantly approach the bishops for the blessing, sometimes during services as the bishops stand in the midst of the Temple. After the Vigil, there was supper at the metropolitanate, and then retirement for the night.

On Saturday, 28 August, we rose for a 0730 departure. We drove north to the bank of the Dniester River, to the village of Kupivtsi, not far from the village of Kadubivtsi, where the late Metropolitan Wasyly (Fedak) of Winnipeg had been born. In Kupivtsi, there is now the Monastery of the Dormition, a male monastic community. This had previously been simply a parish church ; but in the recent renewal, the village supported the development of this substantial monastery, which serves the village as well. At this monastery, we met Bishop Panteleimon of Ivano-Frankivsk and Kolomeya, who served with us, and he invited us to visit his diocese sometime. The service included (as it does now in most places) a long period of time in giving Holy Communion (with 4 chalices). Especially during this fasting-period, many of the faithful will have been specially prepared, but one generally now sees much more frequent Confession-and-Communion than formerly. After the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy ended, there was first the blessing of the Shrine of the Bleeding Icon of the Saviour in the main Temple, and a Cross-procession to several new chapels, which were blessed with holy water. We also went to the basement of one Temple, where there is a recently-established mausoleum, in which a monk and a nun are buried, and where we sang a Litya. After the conclusion of the procession, there were many awards and gramotas distributed to the main donors for the constructions. Then there was a meal accompanied by much humour. Afterwards, we returned to Chernivtsi for an hour’s pause before Vigil in the cathedral. The Vigil was served by Metropolitan Onouphry, Bishop Meletiy, and me. Because this Vigil included the Burial Service of the Theotokos, as well as the Sunday Vigil, the whole Vigil took more than 4 ½ hours, and it was very moving. After the Vigil, there was supper at the metropolia, and retirement for the night.

On Sunday, 29 August, we rose for departure to the cathedral at 0930 hrs. The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy (the second Divine Liturgy of the day) began shortly after 1000 hrs ; and soon after 1215 hrs, we were told that we now had to take some “short-cuts” to enable the beginning of marriages just after 1230 hrs. Metropolitan Onouphry presided at the marriage of a daughter of one of his priests, and at the marriage of another couple also. We returned to the metropolitanate. There, when the metropolitan was able to return, we took dinner together. Amongst those present at the dinner was Metropolitan Onouphry’s eldest brother, the Mitred Archpriest John Berezovskiy.

Just after 1700 hrs, we departed for Saint Anne’s Hill (Anina Gora) Monastery, to the west. Here we participated in the baptism of the grandson of the Archpriest Michael Sava, and I became spiritually even closer to this diocese than before. I mean by this that I was appointed to be sponsor for the baby Panteleimon Sava. Bishop Meletiy joined us after he had completed the Moleben for Beginning School at the cathedral. He said that the Temple had again been full. After the baptism, we had supper provided by the nuns, and we returned very late to Chernivtsi.

On Monday, 30 August, we rose for a 0500 hrs departure by auto for Kyiv. We had tried to find a way to travel by all other modes, but they were either too costly, or there were no tickets. Instead, Protodeacon Viatcheslav drove us in a van, so that we would be in Kyiv in time for our 1500 hrs appointment with Metropolitan Volodymyr. We collected the women-pilgrims, and the long drive passed peacefully. On the way, we drove past the historic Jewish settlement at Medzhebizhi which we had previously visited, but without stopping this time. We arrived at the Kyiv Caves Lavra at 1230 hrs. There we also met the male pilgrims who had arrived earlier, and we settled in for the ending of our pilgrimage. Some pilgrims went immediately to the Kyiv Caves to venerate the Fathers and Saints there. Others did necessary errands, and they also visited the Kyiv Caves. Because of his complicated agenda, Metropolitan Volodymyr delayed our appointment, and he invited us to take supper with him. Bishop Philip of Poltava, who had also been invited to supper, invited us to visit him and his diocese as soon as possible. Bishop Philip commented that Poltava has a School of Missions, and he invited any of our students to study there. This supper and conversation were very pleasant, and Metropolitan Voldymyr asked that I try to come to Ukraine yet more often. Because the Relics of Saint Vladimir were to come to Canada, in accordance with his blessing, it would likely soon be necessary that I return. Nevertheless, it seems that his Secretary, Bishop Alexander, will visit us in conjunction with the arrival of the Relics of Saint Vladimir.

Thus, on Tuesday, 31 August, the pilgrimage ended with our departure Canada-wards. This pilgrimage was full of blessing, but it was of a rather different character (for me) than the previous pilgrimages have been. Glory be to God for everything.