Metropolitan Clement: Patriarch Theophilos III to hand Holy Fire to UOC
The special board with the delegation of the UOC will be among the planes from 11 countries that will deliver the Holy Fire from Jerusalem on the Holy Saturday evening.
The head of the Synodal Information and Education Department of the UOC, Metropolitan Clement (Vecheria) of Nizhyn and Pryluki said that the delegation of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is the only religious denomination in the country to which the Primate of the Jerusalem Church, Patriarch Theophilus III, will hand over the lamp with the Holy Fire on the day of its descent in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
This gesture of the patriarch is "as an official fraternal blessing between the canonical Orthodox churches," Metropolitan Clement told the Strana.UA online resource.
If the miracle of the descent of the Holy Fire takes place this year, it will happen during a service in Jerusalem around noon in Kyiv, and by 19.00 the shrine can already be met at the airport of the capital, the bishop suggested.
Vladyka Clement indicated that a delegation of the UOC clergy headed by Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary would take the Holy Fire home on a special flight to the Holy Land. Upon arrival in Kyiv, the shrine will immediately be taken to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, where believers can light their candles and lamps from the Fire. From here, the delegations of UOC eparchies will carry the Holy Fire throughout all regions of Ukraine.
According to the clergyman, at 23:00 on Great Saturday, on the eve of the beginning of the Paschal service, the main event related to the Holy Fire will take place – the meeting of the believers and the clergy of the UOC with their Primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry.
“It was then that the Easter celebrations will begin with the introduction of the Holy Fire into the Refectory Church of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, as a symbolic continuation of the holy celebration that takes place in Jerusalem the day before,” said the head of the Synodal Department of the UOC.
In addition to the delegation of the UOC, representatives of 10 more countries – Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Polan – will arrive for the Holy Fire.
Director of the Department of World Religions at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Sharon Regev, said that the boards of these countries will be received at Ben Gurion Airport, which is still closed to foreigners due to coronavirus restrictions. “Despite this, they will be able to receive the Holy Fire in Jerusalem and bring it home,” the official said.
As reported, on Great Tuesday of the Holy Week, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry addressed the Paschal Message to archpastors, pastors, monastics, and all the faithful children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.