On the morning of the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, May 22, 2022, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Sweden Andrii Plakhotniuk visited Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia at the St. George Cathedral in Stockholm.
The visit followed an invitation extended by the Metropolitan to the Ambassador to discuss the growing humanitarian crisis due to the ongoing fighting in Ukraine.
Metropolitan Cleopas conveyed the unwavering support and blessings of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Ukrainian Ambassador and assured the visiting dignitary that all the churches of the Holy Metropolis of Sweden are at the disposal of the refugees from Ukraine arriving in Sweden so that they may celebrate the Divine Liturgy and other holy services in their native language according to the ecclesiastical rite and calendar of their homeland, and preserve their ancestral customs and traditions.
The Ambassador informed the Metropolitan that the Ukrainian Community in Sweden numbered around 12,000 persons prior to the outbreak of fighting, and since then, an additional 38,000 refugees have arrived from Ukraine.
Immediately following their meeting, Metropolitan Cleopas accompanied the Ambassador to the church and presided over the Divine Liturgy, which was celebrated in Greek, Swedish, Ukrainian, and English by the Parish Priest of the Cathedral Archimandrite Bartholomew Iatridis, along with the Rev. Protopresbyter Mykolay Kryhin from Ukraine.
The hymns were chanted in Greek by Monk Christodoulos, Brother of the St. Dionysios of Olympus’ Monastery, Andreas Selamsis, George Sidiras, Dimitrios Batselas, and in Ukrainian by Michael Kryhin.
In his sermon, the Metropolitan spoke about Christ’s meeting with St. Photini the Equal to the Apostles and the astounding dialogue that took place between them, citing excerpts from St. John Chrysostom’s sermon on this Gospel passage.
At the conclusion of holy services, Metropolitan Cleopas welcomed Ambassador Plakhotniuk, Fr. Kryhin, his wife Presbytera Julia, and their son Michail, along with Elder Christodoulos from Greece.
A luncheon followed, which was attended by Rev. Kryhin and his family, Olha Ihumnova, as well as Demetrios and Photini Batsela and Benedict and Tania Svedberg, who graciously hosted the luncheon.
The following Sunday, Metropolitan Cleopas will preside over the Divine Liturgy to be celebrated by Fr. Kryhin at a church made available by the Lutheran Church of Sweden located nearby the St. George Cathedral of Stockholm.