OCU delegation visits Lebanon at invitation of Maronite Catholic Patriarch

7 August 2019, 12:07 | Interchurch relations | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

The delegation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine visited Lebanon at the invitation of the Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi. The visit lasted from July 30 till August 2. The delegation included Bishop Pavlo of Odessa and Balta and rector of the Kyiv Orthodox Theological Academy, Archpriest Oleksandr Trofimlyuk, the press service of the OCU reports.

On the first day of its stay, the Ukrainian Orthodox delegation attended a service on the occasion of the day of memory of the disciples of St. Maron, a Syrian hermit (who, in addition to the Catholic Church, is also venerated by the Orthodox Church). The solemn service was attended by almost the entire episcopate and the numerous clergy of the Maronite Church led by its Primate, as well as the assistant bishop of the Kharkiv-Zaporizhzhya Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine, Jan Sobilo -- who was on a visit to Lebanon -- and numerous believers and guests.


Throughout the visit, the delegation of the OCU lived in the luxurious apartments of the Patriarchate of the Maronite Church, which made it possible to communicate with the leader and hierarchs of this Church and to get acquainted with its ecclesial and administrative life.

During the following days, Bishop Pavlo and Archpriest Oleksandr held a number of official meetings. First of all, the delegates were received by the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Beshar Boutros Al-Rahi, in his summer residence in the city of Diman.

Ukrainian guests had the opportunity to learn more about the complex and heroic history of Lebanese Christians, the current state of the Maronite Church, the Lebanese Maronite family in Ukraine, the life difficulties of Christians in the Middle East and the like.

For their part, Bishop Pavlo and Fr Alexander told cardinal Al-Rahi about the making in Ukraine of the one local Orthodox Church of Ukraine and the issuance of the Tomos by the Ecumenical Patriarch to proclaim its full canonical autocephaly.

Patriarch Bechara Boutros asked to convey his sincere congratulations to Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and all Ukraine and invited him to visit the Lebanese Church.

The delegation also discussed with the General Vicar of the Patriarch, Archbishop Paul Nabil al-Sayah -- who is responsible for the external Church relations of the Maronite Catholic Church -- the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue and cooperation between the Maronite Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Archbishop Paul noted the similarities of the state and Church history of Lebanon and Ukraine, both countries being once subjected to oppression and persecution by their big northern neighbor.

In addition to official events, guests had an opportunity to visit a number of shrines and attractions of Lebanon: the monastery of St. Maron, which holds the imperishable body of one of the most revered local saints – the hermit Charbel, the monastery in honor of the Holy Prophet Elisha with a magnificent museum near the bottom of the Sacred Valley, the forest of the famous cedars of the Lord, one of which is about 5,500 years old, a giant statue of St. Charbel in the mountains of the Lebanese region of Kezroan and many others.

On August 3, 2019, Bishop Pavlo of Odessa and Balta and Archpriest Oleksandr Trofimlyuk returned to Ukraine.

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