Voices from Russia

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Joint Easter Festivities in USA Show Growing Unity of Russian Orthodoxy

Filed under: Christian,Orthodox hierarchs,Orthodox life,religious,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

A joint service of the clergy of the patriarchal parishes in the US and clerics of the Russian Church Outside of Russia resulted in a demonstration of growing unity inside the Russian Orthodox Church. It took place on Saturday at St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York. Following the liturgy, headed by Bishop Merkury Ivanov of Zaraisk, the chief hierarch of the patriarchal parishes in the US, and Bishop Gavriil Chemodakoff of Manhattan, secretary of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, archpastors, clergy, and laity had a joint march with crosses and icons.

“Our two churches had for the first time a chance to serve jointly these joyful days of sacred Easter”, Bishop Gavriil said after the liturgy. He noted, “The Russian Church united a year ago, they became two parts of a single church, the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Outside of Russia united again”. In response, Bishop Merkury said, “We experienced a special joy that we had today the miraculous icon of Our Lady of Kursk and that it passed along the New York streets together with our parishioners for the first time during the stay of this sacred icon in the US”.

“A year ago, God’s power helped us to overcome another long-standing division, one which we inherited from the past, the Russian Church Outside of Russia reconciled with the Church in the Fatherland. Joy and peace now reign supreme in our much-suffering Church”, noted Patriarch Aleksei II of Moscow and all the Russias, in his message to the participants in the Easter festivities in New York. His message emphasised that “A united Church is the spiritual foundation of the revitalisation of Russia. We look with hope to the future of our common Fatherland”.

“Sometimes, the Church is the only island of the Fatherland that many of our fellow countrymen living far from the Fatherland have”, stated a message of greetings by Yuri Ushakov, Russian Ambassador to the US, read by Sergei Garmonin, Russian Consul-General in New York. “Therefore, the revival of church unity became a true symbol of the ingathering of the Russian world, one of whose spiritual foundations has always been the Orthodox Faith”.

“Moscow as the historical centre of the Russian nation does not forget the Russians who chanced to be abroad as the fates decreed”, noted a message by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, read by Georgy Muradov, department head of foreign economic and international relations of the Moscow city government. “Aid to Russian fellow countrymen and Russian Orthodox parishes, support for the Russian language, and active cooperation with the Russian-language diaspora is only a small part of the contribution made by the Russian capital to the noble cause of unifying the Russian world”, the message said.

The divine service Saturday was the first event of this type since the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Russian Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate. Festivities on this scale were carried out for the first time in the presence of the miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Kursk, which is regarded as the custodian of all Russians abroad and a pearl of Russia’s cultural heritage. The Easter festivities were rounded off by a gala reception at the Russian Consulate-General in New York.

4 May 2008




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