On Sunday, Catholicos Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews III, the Primate of the Malankara Church, arrived in Russia. During his visit, he held discussions with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and met with Metropolitan Antony of Volokolamsk, the head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Metropolitan Dionysius of Voskresensk, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate's administrative office. The Catholicos also visited several churches and monasteries in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Academic Council of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy awarded the Primate of the Malankara Church an honorary doctorate. Additionally, the Malankara Catholicos visited the Russian Children's Clinical Hospital in Moscow and familiarized himself with the work of the hospital parish.
In the first week of September, five canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church temples were seized by schismatics. On September 2, representatives of the "OCU" took control of the St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Church in Shpola, Cherkasy Oblast. On September 3, schismatics seized a church in the village of Peschanoye near Poltava. On September 5, a "PCU" clergyman, Vitaliy Matiyashchuk, along with unidentified individuals, cut locks and entered the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos Church in the Bortnichi district of Kyiv. On September 6, supporters of the "OCU" captured the church of the Holy Passion-Bearers Boris and Gleb in Vyshhorod, Kyiv Oblast. On the same day, September 6, raiders took control of the Archangel Michael Church in Myronivka, Kyiv Oblast.
Authorities in Ternopil Oblast attempted to evict nuns from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Holy Theophany Kremenets Convent. On Monday, the police cordoned off the monastery and allowed people onto the monastery grounds only with passports. The Ternopil Eparchy of the UOC called on the faithful to support the sisters of the monastery with their prayers.
The clergy, monastics, and laity of the Cherkasy Eparchy of the UOC published an open appeal to the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as well as other representatives of state authorities and judges, calling for an end to the persecution of Metropolitan Feodosiy of Cherkasy and Kaniv. Metropolitan Feodosiy is currently under house arrest and faces charges related to incitement of interconfessional enmity and justification of armed aggression. This week, Ukrainian law enforcement officials also brought charges against another priest, the rector of a canonical Orthodox church in the Zhytomyr Oblast.
Hierarch Seraphim, the Metropolitan of Kythira and Antikythira of the Greek Orthodox Church, expressed support for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and called on his flock to pray for persecuted Christians. This week, the Exarch of the Holy Sepulchre in Cyprus, as well as clergy and the Primate of the Malankara Church of India, also expressed support for the Ukrainian Church.
The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg handed over a portion of the tomb of Alexander Nevsky to the Russian Orthodox Church. It will be kept at the Alexander Nevsky Lavra, where it will be connected with the relics of the saint. According to the terms of the agreement, the reliquary has been provided for free temporary use for 49 years. Hermitage specialists will maintain continuous supervision over the condition and storage conditions of the tomb, which is an important monument of 18th-century art.
For the second time, students from church universities coming to Russia from Africa have been detained at airports. Last week, an incident occurred with Orthodox students from Tanzania at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, and this week, students from the Congo were held for fourteen hours at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport. Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, Patriarchal Exarch of Africa, stated that the Church would file a complaint against the actions of customs officials with the FSB (Federal Security Service).