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Two matushkas of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church were injured on Friday when the Church of St. Nicholas in the village of Zhidichin in the Volyn Province was forcibly seized by radicals from the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP). As reported by Fr. Roman Geleta, his matushka was injured when a rock hit her just below the eye, and his mother, also a matushka at the parish, was hit in the forehead. Both priests’ wives were taken away from the scene to be examined, reports the press service of the Volyn Diocese. According to Fr. Roman, the faithful of the parish gathered at their church of their own accord to try to prevent the seizure, though the schismatics were able to break through the crowd and cut the locks on the door. The group of raiders included both locals and people brought in from outside. The entrance to the church territory was blocked by a car. At the beginning of the clash, the abbot of a KP monastery in Lutsk arrived and led an akathist with the gathered schismatics. Students of the KP’s Volyn Academy were among those gathered near the church. Before the seizure, the group demanded the keys to the church from the rector, Fr. Vladimir Geleta, but he refused. They then cut the locks to the church and went inside to “take inventory.” They also lite a fire in the church yard and began to “protect” the church. It is unknown if any of the personal belongings of the parish clergy have been taken since no one from the canonical community has been allowed inside the church. Leaflets with schismatic propaganda have been distributed in the village sine the beginning of the month, and Fr. Roman even received a “decree” from Mikhail Zinkevich, a hierarch of the KP, about the local deanery’s acceptance into the KP. Zinkevich even appointed a new rector to replace Fr. Roman’s father, Fr. Vladimir, who has served in the church for 30 years. However, the priests and community of the Church of St. Nicholas have confirmed their intention to remain faithful to the canonical Church several times, in particular on February 10, when a legal parish meeting was held and the faithful expressed their loyalty to the canonical Church and its primate His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. The meeting’s results were recorded in the parish protocols. Fr. Vladimir also had to defend his parish from schismatics in the 1990s. KP representatives even kidnapped his then-3-year old son—Fr. Roman—for several hours to try to convince him to join their schism. http://orthochristian.com/119559.html?fbclid=IwAR29fFthQWZ_sBdsk6jqzO-axSV5Dxx6Daet8p7usaLRfC3UM7u7MKnqELk
On August 31, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church His Holiness Patriarch Kirill will celebrate the glorification of the newly-proclaimed saints the Roslavl elders Theophan and Nikita in the Dormition Cathedral in Smolensk, reports the site of the Smolensk Diocese. During the December 27, 2016 meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church a report was heard from the chairman of the Synodal Commission for the Canonization of Saints, Bishop Pankraty of Troitsk, regarding the petition received from Metropolitan Isidore of Smolensk and Roslavl about the local canonization of Schemamonks Nikita and Theophan, desert dwellers of the Roslavl Forest (Journal no. 126). The Holy Synod decided to canonize Schemamonks Nikita and Theophan, desert dwellers of the Roslavl forests, for local veneration in the Smolensk Diocese. The memory of Venerable Nikita is to be kept on March 29/April 11, the day of his departure to the Lord. The memory of Venerable Theophan—June 15/28, the day of his departure to the Lord. On the same day, Pat. Kirill will celebrate a moleben for the beginning of the academic year, after which, a memorial to the holy Prince Vladimir Monomakh will be consecrated on Cathedral Hill. The patriarch will be in his native Smolensk for the celebration of the 880th anniversary of the establishment of the Smolensk Diocese by the holy Prince Rostislav, according to Metropolitan Isidore of Smolensk. “The memorial, which His Holiness Pat. Kirill will consecrate, is timed to this event so important for our region, inasmuch as Prince Vladimir Monomakh brought the wonderworking Hodigitria Icon and installed it in the Dormition church, as the chronicles testify, and his grandson Prince Rostislav of Smolensk officially established our Smolensk Diocese,” the diocesan head stated. *** The future Schemamonk Nikita was born in Orel in 1695. When and by whom he was tonsured into monasticism is unknown. As a young man he departed from his family’s home and relocated to one and a half miles from the Beloberezhsk Hermitage (now the Bryansk Diocese), attending services at the monastery. There he remained into old age. In 1780 Schemamonk Nikita moved to a cell he built in the Roslavl forests, on the south side of “Monk’s Ditch,” near the village of Akimovka. There the elder spent no less than ten years in monastic podvigs known only to him. Then he again moved to the Beloberezshk Hermitage, but before death, in 1792, he wanted to return again to his desert. His disciple Dositheus, receiving the blessing of the Beloberezshk Hermitage, took Nikita to the Roslavl forests. There Nikita died on March 29, 1793. The body of the reposed Schemamonk Nikita was buried in the ditch near his cell. Because there was constant water in the ditch, within a few years Dositheus dug up Nikita’s coffin to move him to another place. The coffin was intact and Nikita’s body and clothes were incorrupt. They moved his body into a new coffin and, having served a Panikhida, buried him on a hill on the northern edge of the ditch. One sick monk attended the burial, suffering from a stomach sickness. Drinking some water from the coffin, he was healed from his sickness. Fifteen years after Fr. Nikita’s death his grave was again opened: as before his body remained incorrupt. From the time of his death the faithful have honored the memory of Fr. Nikita. As many as 5,000 people gather at his grave on his name’s day. The grave of the elder is revered to this day and has witnessed many instances of healing. Not far from the burial of Fr. Nikita is the grave of another ascetic—Schemamonk Theophan. Little information has been preserved about his life—it is mainly the following recollections of Archimandrite Moses, the venerable Optina elder. “Fr. Theophan, a native of Vladimir, served in the Black Sea Cossack army; before his tonsure he was called “Cossack Theodore Talunin.” At first he lived in the Sophroniev Hermitage, then he left for Moldavia, where he stayed with Elder Paisius [Velichkovksy—trans.]. Upon his death he returned to Russia and entered the brotherhood of Optina Pustyn in 1800. He labored in extreme non-acquisitiveness, in meekness of spirit, in the active virtue of fasting, prayer and prostrations with fervent zeal. < … > The Elder departed to the Lord on June 15, 1819. A few minutes before his death I asked him: ‘Is your soul calm? Don’t you fear anything in the hour of death?’ He replied: ‘I joyfully desire to be delivered from this life.’ And his end began immediately: he raised his hand to make the Sign of the Cross and gave his soul into the hands of God. He was buried in the wilderness.” The venerable Optina elder Anthony, in the arms of whom Elder Theophan died in the Roslavl forests said that he forgot to beseech his prayers before his death. On the fortieth day the reposed appeared to him in a dream and promised to pray for him. Fr. Anthony said the following about Fr. Theophan: “In life this elder had such a face shining with grace that I lacked the spirit to look him straight in the eyes, but only secretly looked at him from the side.” The grave of Schemamonk Theophan is revered by pilgrims in modern times. http://orthochristian.com/106069.html