In Brest UOC bishops honour 370th anniversary of St. Athanasius’ death

Bishop Viktor (Kotsaba) of Baryshevka

In Belarus, celebrations were held on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of St. Martyr Athanasius of Brest, a fighter against the Union of Brest.

The festive celebrations in honour of the 370th anniversary of St. Athanasius’ martyrdom were attended by bishops of the UOC, reports the UOC Information and Educational Department.

Metropolitan Vladimir of Vladimir-Volynsky and Kovel, Archbishop Philaret of Lvov and Galich, Bishop Viktor of Baryshevka arrived in Belarus at the invitation of the Brest eparchy.

On the morning of September 18, the clergy and believers took part in a cross procession to the monument to the Holy Hieromartyr Athanasius, where a solemn prayer service was held. Then the believers went to the St. Athanasius Monastery, where the Divine Liturgy was performed.

After a special litany, Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavl prayed for peace in Ukraine. Also, Bishop Pavel addressed the flock with a sermon.

"We remember today the Holy Hieromartyr Athanasius of Brest, recalling those terrible years of trials that our land and the Orthodox Church knew. Today we do not condemn either Catholics or Uniates for the evil that they committed – the murder of the saint. But we must in every possible way strive for St Athanasius’ steadfastness in the holy Orthodox faith," the hierarch said.

Athanasius Filippovich was born to a petty Lithuanian nobleman in Brest-Litovsk, then part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1627, he entered the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius. He later moved to other monasteries and was ordained a priest. In 1640, Athanasius became hegumen of the Monastery of St. Simeon in Brest. From then on, he advocated against Roman proselytism and the Union of Brest. When the rising of the Zaporozhian Cossacks occured, Athanasius was taken prisoner for a third and final time, and accused, without a shred of proof, of ties with rebels. When no proof of material-smuggling was found, Athanasius was then charged with profaning the Latin Church and the Union. The holy monk refused to renounce his faith, crying aloud, "Anathema to the Union!" On September 5, 1648, the monk was taken from the castle by the Polish soldiery into the forests outside of Brest, tortured cruelly and executed.  Hieromonk Athanasius was recognized as a venerable saint shortly after his martyrdom.

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