Brusyliv’s main Ohiienko Square had not seen such numbers of festively dressed people for a long time. Entire families came there that morning, and residents of nearby villages arrived in cars, buses, and even horse-drawn carts. We were delighted seeing little kids at the event, most of them, as well as of adults, wearing embroidered shirts.
It was a landmark event, as the years-long talk about the restoration of the shrine associated with the memory of Ivan Ohiienko (Metropolitan Ilarion), the great countryman who had brought Brusyliv the global fame, was finally translating into actions: the building design for the Cossack church, destroyed by a godless regime, has been approved, the rebuilding’s initiator, head of the NGO “Brusyliv Raion – Our Homeland” Volodymyr Habenets has raised enough money to cover the initial costs, and Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate), His Holiness Filaret came to bless the rebuilding, accompanied by all local clerics. It has been determined that the shrine will have its old name back as the Castle Church of the Holy Resurrection, because it stood once next to a majestic castle.
That is why people baked many loaves of korovai [a kind of festive round bread. – Ed.], and the local branch of the Cossack movement cooked a whole cauldron’s worth of porridge for honored guests from Kyiv. The latter included famous compatriots of Ohiienko: People’s Artist of Ukraine Nina Matviienko and former mayor of Kyiv Oleksandr Omelchenko.
After a prayer service and the ceremony of laying and consecrating the cornerstone in the foundation of the future church, co-celebrated by His Holiness Filaret and many priests, residents of Brusyliv held a town meeting of sorts. The speeches were short, but business-like and full of pain. People discussed why many priests in Ukrainian churches of the Moscow Patriarchate, effectively siding with the aggressor, were refusing to pray for the fallen Ukrainian soldiers, these real heroes of the undeclared war our country has to wage. They also touched upon the fact that many Ukrainians were starting to rethink true and false spiritual values in this troubled time, changing their approaches to pointless conversations about what church had better legal standing under ecclesiastical law and more God’s grace. Recent events have provided compelling arguments in this row.
The Kyiv guests talked about the need to launch an all-Ukrainian volunteer effort to rebuild the shrine, so significant for the nation, and the need for solidarity in the pro-Ukrainian press coverage of the Ukrainian revival events.
One of such events will again be held in Brusyliv later this week. The Ohiienko Museum will be opened in the same square on August 22, following years of delays and prevarication by leaders of the previous regime.