February 24, 2014
On 23 February 2014, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, visited the Oxford parish of the Sourozh diocese and celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of St Nicholas the Wonderworker. The DECR chairman visited Great Britain upon the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia Concelebrating with Metropolitan Hilarion were Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh; Rev. Stephen Platt, rector of the parish; Hieromonk Ioann (Kopeikin), assistant to the DECR chairman; and protodeacon Dimitry Nedostupenko, a cleric of the London Cathedral of the Dormition. Praying at the service was Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia.
During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, prayers were said for the end of discord and for the re-establishment of peace in the Ukrainian land. Metropolitan Hilarion prayed for all those killed during the armed clashes in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities and towns.
After the Liturgy, the DECR chairman addressed the worshippers with his archpastoral word, saying in particular:
“Today we have lifted up our ardent prayers for the restoration of peace in Ukraine. I think we all have been following the events in Ukraine with great attention, deep concern and pain. In the last few days, I was receiving news from there every fifteen minutes, and they all were very alarming and grave, informing us of murders and numerous injuries. We pray for innocent victims of the conflict and plead with God so that these events would not shake the Church of Christ in Ukraine and so that our faithful could continue to perform their ministry without hindrance and lift up their prayers in the churches which belong to them.
“St Paul said that the Church is the body of Christ and “whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it” (cf. 1 Cor. 12:26). Today we cannot say that Ukraine is somewhere far away, that those who are suffering there are not our neighbours. Our multinational Church is one body, and sufferings of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters resound with pain in the hearts of all faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church, those who live in Russia and in the British islands, and those scattered all over the world.”