Today we began the day with a hierarchal Divine Liturgy in honor of the Moscow Hierarch Saints at the Exaltation of the Cross Convent in Poltava. The Liturgy was served by Metropolitan Phillip of Poltava, Archbishop Peter, and Bishop Benjamin of Novi Sanzhary (Vicar of the Poltava Diocese and Rector of the Poltava Seminary). A picture of Metropolitan Phillip and Archbishop Peter being met by the clergy and the nuns of the convent is to the right. Pictures below include Bishop Benjamin.
It was a very impressive sight to see the convent cathedral absolutely full on a weekday. Certainly there were several hundred people present. The Abbess told us later that there were 100 pilgrims registered in the convent guest house on this Tuesday. The convent has 40 tonsured sisters, in addition to novices and workers. It is one of several convents and monasteries in this vibrant diocese. Below are some additional pictures from the Divine Service and immediately thereafter.
Please find a video of Metropolitan Phillip and Archbishop Peter addressing some of the gathered press after the Divine Liturgy at this link.
The tour of the city also included the Poltava Field where the great battle of Poltava took place and the memorial of the battle and the church of the Venerable Sampson at the battle sight. This church was built there (there is another named after this same saint in St. Petersburg for the reason) since it was on the feast day of this saint that Peter I defeated the Swedish invading forces there. Pictures of this part of the day are below.
The next few pictures are from the inside of the memorial. Before the Revolution there was a small church in honor of Sts. Peter & Paul in this man-made cave, but during the Soviet times this was destroyed. Now it is part of a museum in honor of the Battle of Poltava.
Additional pictures of the day can be found below.
Please continue to pray for us as we travel!