Одного разу побувавши на Афоні, людина вже ніколи не повернеться до колишнього життя, оскільки Свята Гора проникає в її думки і вчинки, слова і діяння.
It’s difficult for a person to return to former life having visited Athos as the Holy Mount gets into his thoughts and actions, words and acts.
For me, as well as for each orthodox person in Ukraine, the love to Athos is shown at the deep, spiritual and genetic level. And it happens with an ulterior motive.
Throughout many centuries we, Ukrainians, are united by the orthodox belief which was accepted by our ancestors in baptismal waters of the Kiev Jordan in the Dniprо river, which our grandfathers and fathers preserved.
The orthodox belief brought on our lands by the Byzantine prelates and educators that received the strong spiritual base thanks to the Holy Mount Athos.
At the beginning of the 11th century our fellow countryman the Saint Anthony Pechersky (came from the Chernihiv Region) brought on the Kiev mountains unextinguishable light of monastic self-sacrifice from Mount Athos and founded in ancient Kiev the Pechersky monastery which became a cradle of a monkhood and the spiritual center of orthodox Kievan Rus that later began the biggest monastery in the world.
Since then and throughout many centuries there is an indissoluble historical link between Athos and Ukraine. Then the Holy Mount became for our ancestors a living example of monastic life, the keeper of orthodox doctrines, legends of fathers, traditions and cultures.
At all times Athos elderly monks came on our earth, shared the word and knowledge that sowed and cultivated belief grains in souls of our fathers.
It’s worth to remember the time of the Brest union when oppression of belief began when the Athos hermit John Vyshensky arrived from the Holy Mount for spiritual strengthening of Orthodox Christians. In his hot sermons he said that it’s necessary in every way stick to the orthodox traditions, culture and the native language.
The role of the Ukrainian people in the history of Athos wasn't smaller too. So, in the 18th century the native of Poltava the Saint Paisius Velychkovsky became the famous Athos hermit. He founded the Illinsky monastery, translated into Slavic language the work of Fathers Kollivadov "Philocalia". Since that time his works revived monastic traditions on our lands.
Thanks to such familiar personalities of Orthodoxy our ancestors could fight for orthodox belief Unfortunately, there are not so many of such people today.
Therefore it is so difficult to hear and remain indifferent today about church split in Ukraine, about intentions of transfer of Kyiv Pechersk and Pochayevska Lavra to dissenters and change of date of celebration of Christmas.
Having received a benediction of the Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy, I decided to establish "Orthodox Heritage of Ukraine on Mount Athos" charity fund and "Panagiya" pilgrim service. The main purpose is to promote greatly the spiritual education of our people, to strengthen the belief and in every way to support the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
Last year the fund had already started to help the Orthodox churches in restoration and decoration. Also we managed to send some pilgrim groups of priests and laymen to the Holy Mount, to carry out a number of works on the edition of educational literature and to give help in an exit of orthodox broadcasts.
But it is only the beginning of our activity as the major actions we are going to realize this year. On Athos we prepare opening of the museum devoted to the Holy Mount for the 1000 anniversary of stay of Slavs, we plan to carry out the thematic conference the separate part of which will be devoted to research of the Ukrainian monastery with traditions of the Zaporozhian Cossacks Black Vir on Athos (in the first half of the 18th century it was founded by monks from Kiev Pechersk Lavra).
I sincerely believe that it is the belief that allows the person to be closer to God, and I invite you through joint efforts to develop heritage of our ancestors on the Holy Mount and in Ukraine.