International Orthodox Christian News

The Romanian Orthodox Church glorified among the saints and included into its church calendar the Holy Hierarch Athanasius III, who had lived for 12 years in the Romanian town Gaatz.

In this connection, His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr sent a greeting letter to the participants of the festivities on the occasion of canonization.

We bring to your attention the text of the letter:

№ 581
28.04.2009 р.
Your Beatitude,
Your Eminences, Your Graces, honourable participants of the festivities!

Christ is risen!
Indeed Christ is risen!

On this lightsome and joyous day let me express my deepest and sincere greetings on the occasion of the event, which gathered today all those present. Over and over again we see that the Lord by His inexpressible mercy reveals us His pleasers.

Three thousand years ago the Holy Psalmsinger David pronounced the following words: "And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints." (Psalms 89:5). These words mean that the Lord reveals Himself to us not only through the Holy Scripture, but through the people, who serve Christ with their entire lives, fulfil the commandment of His love, in order to say, following the divine Paul: "yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2, 20).

A bright example of such life is the Holy Hierarch Athanasius III (Patelarius), the Patriarch of Constantinople. The time of his primacy was a difficult ordeal for the Church. Suffering persecutions on the part of the Muslims, the Holy Hierarch Athanasius did not leave his flock, he tried to relieve their sufferings to the best of his ability, made arrangements to protect it. Carrying the heavy cross of the Primate's ministry, to the last gasp the Holy Hierarch Athanasius took care of the flock of word, entrusted on him by the Lord.

I'd like to note that in Rus the Holy Hierarch the Confessor was glorified as early as in 1662. His incorruptible body, glorified by many wonders, stays in the Cathedral of Annunciation in Kharkiv, where thousands of visitors come.

On these May day the Romanian Orthodox Church glorifies the Holy Hierarch Athanasius among the ranks of the holy God-pleasers. This event is a real proof of conciliarity of the Church, of the consent in the thoughts and deeds, of the blessed action of the Holy Spirit of God amongst the faithful. And today, the Holy Spirit of God led us to the common glorification of the Holy Hierarch Athansius, so that we made a choir to glorify with one mouth a pastor, who gave his soul for the flock. This canonization is a visible token of fraternal unity in Christ between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Romanian Orthodox Church, the proof that the love is the chief guarantee of the church unity, for what Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed to His Father in the First Hierarch's prayer (John 17, 11; 26).

Your Beatitude, Let me wish You all the God's favours in performance of your primate's ministry. Patronize Your flock in the selfless and all-forgiving love of Christ, having as example the life of St. Athanasius, so that the Church of Christ in the Romanian Land grew and strengthen on and on. May the Lord bless all of us through the prayers of our father Athanasius, patriarch of Constantinople.

With love in Christ Resurrected,

† Volodymyr,
Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine
Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church


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