Archbishop Hilarion: The majority of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine stay in the fold of the canonical Orthodox Church

On 24 November 2009, Archbishop Hilarion, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, arrived in the Cherkassy diocese of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church at the invitation of Metropolitan Sofrony of Cherkassy and Kanev. On November 25, Archbishop Hilarion celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Ascension in the village of Melniki. In his sermon, he spoke about the division among Orthodox Christians in the Ukraine and noted that they have been caused by human passions and political slogans. "Beware of pastors who leave the Church and set up their graceless communities, thus bringing confusion to the souls of common people. They put a church attire, but Christ does not act through their hands. There are no sacraments in these communities," Archbishop Hilarion underscored.

‘Thanks be to God that the absolute majority of Orthodox Christians in the Ukraine stay in the fold of the canonical Orthodox Church," the DECR Chairman said further. "Let us keep faithfulness to the canonical Orthodox Church led by His Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir and remember our Christian duty to pray for our brothers and sisters who have gone astray. Let us beseech God to bring them back to the fold of the Church."

Metropolitan Sofrony thanked Archbishop Hilarion for visiting Cherkassy and said that the DECR Chairman helped His Holiness Patriarch Kirill in the important mission to serve the unity of the Church and witness about the truth of Orthodoxy in the entire world."

At the repast after the Divine service, the archpastors and clerics spoke of preserving the unity of the Church. Archbishop Hilarion underscored that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill's visit to the Ukraine has become a vivid testimony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Christians' wish to remain members of the one Russian Orthodox Church.

After visiting the churches under construction, namely, the churches of the Nativity of Christ and of St. Andrew the-First-Called in the city of Cherkassy, and the church of All Saints Who Shone Forth in the land of Cherkassy in the village of Khutory, Metropolitan Sofrony and Archbishop Hilarion proceeded to the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God. This church had been the only one in the city during many years.

In conclusion of the visit, the archpastors visited the cathedral church of St. Michael the Archangel in Chercassy built through the labours of Metropolitan Sofrony and prayed at the shrine with the relics of venerable martyr Macarius of Cherkassy.