International Orthodox Christian News


Visit to the Holy Trinity – Saint Sergius Lavra






Visit of His Beatitude Most Blessed Jonah- Archbishop of America and All Canada to Russia


On Monday morning, April 27, 2009, His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH of All America and Canada together with the delegation of the Orthodox Church in America accompanying him on his first official trip to the Russian Orthodox Church arrived at the main gates of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad where they were met by His Eminence, Archbishop EVGENY of Vereia and Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary together with His Eminence, Archbishop FEOGNOST of Sergiev-Posad and Abbot of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra as well as the monastic brotherhood.

After the formal greeting, the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America was led to the holy relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh where he was able venerate them and offer prayers before this great intercessor.

Following the veneration of the relics of St. Sergius, His Beatitude was offered a tour of the Lavra and its museum. Once the tour of the Lavra was completed, Metropolitan JONAH presented the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary with Orthodox Study Bibles in the English Language on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America.

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St. Augustine, FL - The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), the foreign mission and evangelism agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas(SCOBA), will dedicate its new Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building on Thursday, May 21, 2009.

The two honorees, His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania and His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Chairman of SCOBA, will lead the ceremonies. They will be joined by the hierarchs of SCOBA representing all of the Orthodox jurisdictions in America, the Board of Directors and Staff of OCMC, Missionaries and Mission Team members, benefactors and donors to the successful capital campaign which provided funding for the project, and Orthodox clergy and laity from throughout the country.

Located on a wooded twenty-acre site near Interstate 95, the 12,000 square foot facility is the first permanent building designed, constructed, owned and operated by a SCOBA agency. It includes space for worship, training and meeting rooms, overnight accommodations for visiting Missionaries and Mission Team members, a kitchen, and administrative offices and work areas. State of the art information technology infrastructure is installed throughout to support communications with OCMC’s Missionaries around the world.

The OCMC Board of Directors cordially invites all Orthodox in America to be a part of this historic occasion, either by participating in the dedication events or offering greetings in the commemorative album. For more information and/or to participate in some way, please see the OCMC web site at www.ocmc.org or e-mail missions@ocmc.org or call 1-877-GO-FORTH .



Begun in 2006, the new Missionary Training and Administration Building is the first building built for a pan-Orthodox ministry of the Standing Conference of Canonical Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). Located in historic St. Augustine, Florida, the new 12,000 square foot Missionary Training & Administrative Support Center will help Orthodox Christians from North America answer their call to make disciples of all nations.

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Zumoro to attend International Music Festival In Minsk

Indian Orthodox Church

ZUMORO - The Indian Orthodox Choir has been invited to attend the Xth International Festival of Orthodox Chants to be held from 27th April to 3rd May 2009 at Minsk the capital of Belarus, the neighbour of Russia. The group consisting of 23 members under the leadership of Rev. Fr. M.P.George, Director, Sruthi School of Liturgical Music and the able guidance of Shri. Mammen Varghese, Printer and Publisher, Malayala Manorama will leave to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, on Monday, the 27th of April. The festival is being conducted by the Belarusian eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church. More than 30 choirs from different countries including Bulgaria, Ukraine, Armenia, Latvia, Lithuania, etc will participate in the festival. The Zumoro Choir will sing 8 Liturgical songs in Malayalam, English, Syriac and Hindi and also1 devotional song in Malayalam. The choir visited His Holiness Baselius Marthoma Didymus I and sought blessings on 26th evening.

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Solemn Paschal night divine services took place in several Chinese cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

In Beijing, divine services of Passion Week and Holy Pascha were performed by Archpriest Dionisy Pozdnyaev and Priest Alexis Dyuka (ROCOR). The services were held in the house church of St. Innocent of Irkutsk (Red Fangzi) on the territory of the Russian Embassy. A large crowd of believers attended the divine services during these days; there were many, many communicants.

Various kinds of kulichi (rich breads), cheese paskhas and dyed Paschal eggs were blessed on and Great Saturday and during the Paschal night. Orthodox faithful came from Harbin, Shenyang, Tianjin, Dalian and Changzhou. "The Feast of Feasts" brought together Orthodox people from various countries. A large number of young people attended the services. Many children received communion during the early morning service on Holy Saturday .

Over 300 people from Beijing's Orthodox community were present at the Paschal night services and took part in the procession. Unfortunately, not all were able to get into the temple - on major church holidays there is no room for those wishing to attend the service. A particularly joyous Paschal gift for the faithful was the news about the ongoing restoration work in the museum/house church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the Embassy, which used to be the temporary temple of the Spiritual Mission, and which, until recently, housed a garage. After an Orthodox cross and bells were installed, outwardly the building began to resemble a real Orthodox temple. An iconostasis, an altar table, and a table of oblation -- all made in Russia -- have already been installed.

For divine services in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, hegumen Melety (Sokolov)especially from Moscow, an instructor at the Moscow Theological Academy, flew in especially from Moscow.

In the building of the Consulate General of Russian Federation in Shanghai, Paschal divine services were officiated by priest Alex Kiselevich. Over 200 attended came to the Paschal divine service. Chinese Orthodox clerics, who do not yet have their own church, were among those taking part in the services.

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Romanian Orthodox Patriarcate

Right Rev. Ioachim Mareş, Bishop of Huşi, died on April 24, 2009, on the feast of the Lifegiving Font, at 1:30 p.m. at the Diocesan Residence in Huşi. Today, Monday, April 27, the Holy Liturgy will be celebrated at 8:00 a.m., followed, at 10 a.m., by the memorial service for Right Rev. Ioachim Mareş. Acting upon the wish of the late Bishop Ioachim, his body will be taken after the service to the Ascension of the Lord Cathedral in Bacău.

Here the faithful will be able to pay their respects to Bishop Ioachim Mareş until tomorrow, Tuesday, April 28, 2009. Tomorrow, at 8 a.m., the Holy Liturgy will be celebrated, followed by the burial of Bishop Ioachim in the crypt found in the basement of the Ascension of the Lord Cathedral in Bacău.

Most Rev. Teofan, Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina, will be locum tenens of the see of Huşi until the election and enthronement of a new Bishop of Huşi.

His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel sent a message to the faithful of the Huşi Diocese, in which he underlined that “Most Rev. Ioachim of Huşi has passed away on the Bright Friday. Bearing the cross of the suffering of his longtime ailment with dignity and hope, God has called him to the Heavens on the feast day of the Lifegiving Font in order to show that the place of the complete healing is the Kingdom of God.'

Right Rev. Ioachim Mareş was born in Măgireşti, Bacău county, on March 12, 1927. He was ordained priest in 1972, ministering at the St. Nicholas Church in Bacău. In 1978 he was appointed administrative vicar of the Roman and Huşi Diocese. In 1985 he was ordained bishop and appointed Vicar Bishop of the Roman and Huşi Diocese. In 1996 he was elected Bishop of Huşi.

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Cooperation memorandum will be formed between Georgian government and Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Church.

As InterpressNews was informed by minister for Penitentiary, Probation and Legal aid, memorandum is about labor of convicts in Churches and monasteries.

They inform that Church expresses readiness to sign the memorandum to assist socialization of prisoners, involve them in church life.

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Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

DIOCESE OF EASTERN AMERICA AND NEW YORK


On Saturday, May 9, 2009, the Rector and parishioners of Holy Epiphany Parish will hold their first of a series of symposiums on questions concerning science and faith. Three papers will be presented: “An Overview of the Problems of Science and Faith from a Pastoral Perspective,” by Priest Victor Boldewskul (Holy Epiphany Parish); “An Astronomer's Reading of the Bible and Creation Narration” by Professor Alexey Vikhlinin (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics); and “Looking for a Balance Between Faith and Science,” by Dr Vladislav Zarayskiy (PhD, Biology). Dr Sergei Mirkin (Professor, White Family Chair in Biology Tufts University) will chair the discussion. Papers will be in Russian with simultaneous English translation. The symposium will begin at 10:00 am followed by an hour lunch break around 11:30. A discussion of the papers will follow after lunch. The symposium is free of charge and is open to all who are interested. Participants will be responsible for their own lunch. For more information,contact Fr Victor (Frvictor@comcast.net) or Dr Vladislav Zarayskiy (zarayskiy@gmail.com).

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With God’s help and mercy, www.orthphoto.net has existed for five years. Our website has grown to international proportions – it has become the biggest web gallery of photographs representing Orthodox Christianity of all Orthodox Churches from 70 countries around the world.

Since the launching over 2800 authors have logged in the website and uploaded over 33 000 photographs. Every day our users publish around 25 new pictures; each one is viewed 200-300 times. OrthPhoto has accumulated over 900 000 comments and marks posted under the photographs and over 3 400 comments on forum. We are visited by an average of 1300 people daily, whereas during the 5 years of our existence we have registered visits from more than 100 countries.

The site is now available in 10 language versions, with the tendency this number will grow in the years to come.

The most important event in the year of our anniversary will certainly be the exhibition showcasing 300 photos from 170 orthphoto authors from 43 countries.
An International Workshop in Suprasl, Poland, changes on the web home page and the voting system will also mark this year’s anniversary activity of orthphoto.net.

The small volunteer team invites you to browse our pages, post your own works and join the conversations with other users of OrthPhoto. If you have any suggestions of how the site could improve, please let us know!

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On Sunday, April 26, the relics of one of the most venerated saints of the Orthodox world - of the Holy Hierarch and Wonderworker Spyridon of Tremithous - arrived to Ukraine.

At the airport of Boryspil the shrine was delivered by the delegation of the Orthodox Church of Greece with Metropolitan Nectarios of Kerkira, Paxoi and Diapontioi Nisoi,accompanied in the journey by Deputy Abbot of the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, Archbishop Pavel of Vyshgorod.

Bringing in of the relics of the Holy Hierarch Spyridon took place on the blessing of His Beatitude Hieronymos II of Athens and All Greece on the request of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr.

After the meeting at the airport of the capital, the relics were delivered to the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, where the shrine was met by the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church together with Archbishop Vissarion of Ovruch and Korosten, Bishops Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi, Bishop Panteleimon of Vasylkiv, synaxis of the capital and monastery clergy and God-loving flock from all the corners of our country.

Thereafter the thanks giving prayer service was performed in the square in front of the Cathedral of the Holy Dormition, following which the Archpastor greeted the guests from Greece. In his word, addressed first of all to Metropolitan Nectarios, the Primate said:

"We heartily thank you for the joy you gave us, bringing the hand of St. Spyridon today. We ask for your prayers for our nation, for our Holy Church and for the entire orthodox world, so that it praised the Resurrected Christ in peace, consent and love and inherited the eternal Pascha."

In his answer speech, Vladyka Nectarios first of all greeted all those present by the ever-living words: "Christ is risen!" Continuing his speech, he underscored:


"My heart replenishes with joy that we have come today to Ukraine, to the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and I'm very glad to meet You, Your Beatitude, with Your Archpastors, clergymen, and I'm also very glad to see you, God-Loving people. The saints of our Church are a symbol of our unity, we are the Body of Christ and the head of this body is Christ. And the Holy Hierarch Spyridon of Tremithous is not only a Greek saint, he also protects all of you, and all the Orthodox Christians, he is a common universal saint."

Thereafter His Beatitude prayerfully bowed unto the honorable relics of St. Spyridon, following which a few hundreds of Ukrainian children with functional disabilities, orphans and the children of various creative teams, who visited that day the charity holiday "Children in Lavra", venerated the shrine.

Finally, the clergy and faithful, carrying the reliquary with the hand of St. Spyridon of Tremithous and his iconic image, followed in the sacred procession to the territory of the Near Caves, where the shrine was brought into the Church of Exaltation of the Cross, in which it is going to stay for the next few days, and where all willing will be able to venerated it.

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By tradition, on the first days after the Great Feast of the Holy Resurrection of Christ the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr visits the churches and monasteries of the capital.

On April 26, the Thomas Sunday, His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr called to the Convent of Holy Protection in Kyiv where he celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. Nicholas the Holy Hierarch and Wonderworker, in concelebration of the monastery clergy.

At the Divine service His Beatitude Volodymyr addressed those present with a sermon, in which he told of the Christ's Resurrection and the significance of this event for the believers.

"May the present mercy of Lord - the feeling of joy of the feast of Christ's Resurrection resurrect us from any sin and vile, from any sinful dream and send all of us consolation and mercy of the Holy Spirit, renewing and strengthening us. May the whole humanity be enlightened by the Resurrection of Christ. That is what we pray for, bowing with our hearts and rejoicing on these holy days", - said the Archpastor.

Also in the course of the Divine Liturgy His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr bestowed on deacon Vasyl Savka the right of wearing kamelaukion.

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On Sunday, April 26, 2009, His Holiness, Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia, together with His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH of All America and Canada concelebrated the Divine Liturgy for St. Thomas Sunday at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. Concelebrating with the two Primates of Autocephalous Churches were numerous hierarchs and clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America.

During the Primatial Divine Liturgy, Archimandrite Tikhon (Zaitsev) the former Head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem was consecrated to the Holy Episcopate and given the title “Bishop of Podolsk” with the added responsibility of being the Chairman of the Department of Finances and Economic Management of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Following the Divine Liturgy, His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH presented His Holiness, Patriarch KIRILL with an icon of the Righteous Saint Alexis Toth containing a particle of his holy relics.

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Metropolitan JONAH of All America and Canada arrives in Russia for his first official Primatial visit to the Russian Orthodox Church

On Bright Saturday, April 25, 2009, His Beatitude, the Most Blessed Metropolitan JONAH of All America and Canada arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetovo International Airport where he was met by His Eminence, Archbishop HILARION of Volokolamsk and Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church together with Bishop ALEKSANDR of Dmitrov, Patriarchal Vicar Bishop, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, Representative of the Orthodox Church in America to the Moscow Patriarchate, and Archpriest Nicholas Balashov the Deputy Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

After being met at the airport, His Beatitude departed to St. Catherine the Great Martyr Church – the Moscow Representation of the Orthodox Church in America where he led the clergy and laity in the last Paschal Procession for Bright Week and then distributed the blessed Artos to the faithful gathered. Archimandrite Zacchaeus welcomed His Beatitude to St. Catherine the Great Martyr Church and stressed the importance of this first visit of the newly enthroned Primate of the Orthodox Church in America to the Russian Orthodox Church which will help build relations between the two Autocephalous Churches. Likewise, Father Zacchaeus thanked His Beatitude for his sincere desire to lead the community in beginning the year-long celebration of the 15th Anniversary since the founding of the OCA Representation in Moscow which will officially begin with His Beatitude’s leading the Divine Liturgy on May 2nd and concluding on the Parish Patronal Feast Day on
December 7, 2009 . In turn, His Beatitude thanked Archimandrite Zacchaeus for his warm welcome and stated that he is very glad to be able to visit the OCA Representation and see with his own eyes the good work being accomplished there.

Afterwards, His Beatitude gave an interview to Russian State Television Channel 1 as well as for “Voice of America” which was organized by the Moscow Representation of the Orthodox Church in America .
Also accompanying His Beatitude were: Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky; Archdeacon Kirill Sokolov; and Novice Gregory (Stevens). His Eminence, Archbishop SERAPHIM of Ottawa and Canada, the Chairman of the Department of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations of the Orthodox Church in America will be arriving later the same day and be included in the official delegation to the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Orthodox Christian Easter pictures from around the world



1)Light shines on a Greek Orthodox priest as he conducts prayers Christianity's holiest shrine, Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as Orthodox Christians mark Easter Day.


2)At the Jerusalem church, on the site where Jesus is said to have been buried, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theofilos III led ceremonies.

3)Some 10,000 pilgrims in Jerusalem's Old City crammed into the church - which is shared by six Christian denominations - for the Holy Fire Ritual.


4)This woman made it into the sacred site, but another 30,000 remained outside amid tight security by Israeli police.


5)Greek Orthodox and other Eastern rite Christians this year mark Easter a week after Protestants and Catholics because the Orthodox Church follows a different calendar.


6)Easter has been marked across the Orthodox world. In Kiev, Ukraine, a woman in white appears like a ghostly apparition during a candle-lit procession.


7)Services were held across Eastern Europe, this one in Tuzla, Bosnia.

8)In the Egyptian capital Cairo, Pope Shenouda III celebrated the Coptic Easter Mass. The Church of Alexandria in Egypt has an estimated 58 million members worldwide.
9)Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (C) and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) joined a service at this Moscow cathedral. Russia's Orthodox Church has grown in power since the Soviet Union fell.

10)And in neighbouring Georgia a lady lights a candle in the capital Tbilisi, where President Mikhail Saakashvili also attended a service with his family.
11)Easter marks the holiest feast in the Christian calendar. The candles in this photo of a procession outside a cathedral in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia look like neon streaks.


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On Bright Tuesday, April 21, 2009, His Grace Vladyka MERCURIUS, the Administrator of the Moscow Patriarchal Parishes in the United States visited His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP at the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey.

The occasion was a farewell visit by Vladyka MERCURIUS before he departs for Moscow to assume his new duties as the Chairman of the Synodal Department for Religious Education and Catechism for the Moscow Patriarchate, and Abbot of St. Peter’s Monastery in Moscow.


Metropolitan PHILIP expressed his warm feelings regarding the good relations which he enjoyed with Vladyka MERCURIUS during his stay in the United States over the past 9 years. The two hierarchs exchanged many ideas on the topic of Orthodox unity in America, and the forthcoming Pan-Orthodox Council which will be held in Cyprus later this year. His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP expressed his wishes that His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia would exercise a leading role in international Orthodox relations, especially given that His Holiness represents approximately 100 million Orthodox Christians. His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP expressed fond memories of his previous two visits to Russia and asked Vladyka MERCURIUS to express his warmest regards to His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL.

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On Friday April 24th, 2009, a special meeting of the Holy Synod of The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America was held under the chairmanship of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. All of the hierarchs of the Archdiocese were in attendance at the meeting namely:
His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP
His Grace Bishop ANTOUN
His Grace Bishop JOSEPH
His Grace Bishop BASIL
His Grace Bishop THOMAS
His Grace Bishop MARK
His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER
The sole agenda item was a discussion of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which was adopted on February 24th, 2009. This decision normalized the status of all bishops across the See of Antioch to be that of Auxiliary bishops.
The hierarchs discussed many issues that have been raised by clergy and laity alike regarding this decision. There was agreement that there are some very serious issues that need attention in order that the healing process can proceed. The hierarchs agreed to take some specific actions that can facilitate this healing.
A significant discussion was held regarding obedience to this decision. It was reaffirmed that the Holy Synod of Antioch is the highest ecclesiastical authority in the entire See of Antioch, and that all of its Archdioceses are subject to decisions which are adopted by the Holy Synod. All of the hierarchs affirmed that they are currently in obedience to the Holy Synod of Antioch, and that there was never a question to the contrary. In conjunction with this, the hierarchs acknowledged that the decision had caused concern among the clergy and the people, and that there must be steps taken to begin to heal these misunderstandings.
In addition to the discussion on obedience, the hierarchs were strong and forthright in their expression of love for one other, and their desire to protect the unity of the Archdiocese.

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Greek Independence Day Parade



To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the Greek Orthodox Family of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland

Beloved Omogeneis,

Once again we gather together with joy and excitement as Greek Orthodox Christians to celebrate Greek Independence Day, March 25, 1821, by participating in our annual Greek Independence Day Parade in New York City, on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. This annual parade, in which take part representative members from all our communities and various organizations, has become a historic and welcome New York tradition. Each year, people from all walks of life gather along Fifth Avenue to enjoy a jubilant, patriotic spectacle and to hear the message of our faith and our culture that we express on this day.

Our expression on this day of our steadfastness to the ideals of freedom and independence, based upon our Orthodox faith and our universal culture, is a tribute to the heroes who gave their lives so that following generations would live in conditions of freedom. This expression gives homage to the numerous Hellenes and Philhellenes from around the world who fought and gave their lives in battle for Greek Independence, which was declared on March 25, 1821, after four centuries of Ottoman occupation. It is in this regard that our Greek Independence Day Parade is truly a parade that belongs to all people of this city and of America. With pride and immense gratitude to God, we march for the ideals of freedom, independence, and democracy which March 25th symbolizes.

When we consider how many people gave their lives for these ideals, we are automatically called to protect and promote these ideals in every way. One important venue for their promotion is our Greek Independence Day Parade, for it underscores in a vivid manner, and it communicates to others, the importance of conditions of liberty and independence for the Orthodox Christian faith, Hellenic culture, and American identity.


With exceptional joy, I invite all members of our communities, men and women, adults and children, to participate in this year’s parade, which will be held on Sunday, April 26 at 1:00 pm. On this day, we will gather in our parishes to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord, as we do every Sunday. On this same day, let us also gather and proudly march along Fifth Avenue in our celebration; and let us give generously in every direction the inheritance of freedom, independence, democracy, and, above all, our Greek Orthodox Christian faith.

With paternal love in Christ,


† DEMETRIOS
Archbishop of America

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The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Pascha, 2009

P A V L E

By the grace of God

Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with the all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church – to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Paschal greeting:

This year as well during these spring days, dear brothers and sisters, with the same joy we celebrate the greatest Feast Day of God’s Church, the Resurrection of Christ the Savior. Every year at this time, when the mysterious force of life awakens deadened nature, the glory of the Resurrected Lord awakens even in us a brighter, more holy and happier life. Today exalted thoughts spring forth, wonderful feelings are born, and a holy and extraordinary disposition overcomes us. With the resurrected Lord we also are raised up into a higher and more meaningful life. The victorious bliss of eternal life given to us by our Resurrected Redeemer and Savior shines forth in our hearts. Just as in that mysterious beginning at God’s Word the world was called into existence, and in the world life, so in like manner by His Divine power the Son of God, Jesus Christ, resurrected from the dead. This great event is mystical as is the creation of the world; it is miraculous and exalted as a real song of joy resounding throughout all God’s creation. Moreover, as the fulfillment of the first creation and as a new creation, it is even more miraculous and greater than the first creation and than all historical events.

Many centuries separate us from that bright Jerusalem dawn, when the holy Myrrhbearing women beheld the empty tomb. They came to anoint the dead body of their Teacher; to pour their tears upon it and to warm up the cold stones of the grave with their love, their faithfulness and devotion. They were at the cross of the Crucified Savior when all, except His Mother and one of the disciples, forsook Him. Even from a distance they followed the last moments of the greatest Teacher. They did not forsake Him even when He died. That is why they were made worthy to be the first witnesses and the first messengers of the Resurrection; the first celebrants of the new life in the Resurrected Lord. Today the tender admonition uttered to the women by the Lord’s angel from the stone at the tomb resonates in our ears: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, He is risen!” (Luke 24:5-6) And the frightened women, there in the garden where the tomb was, were the first ones to meet the Resurrected Lord. He sent them to Galilee to tell the disciples and to gladden them with the joyous news that they too would see Him (cf. Mark 16:7). And behold, dear children of God, this Resurrectional joy of ours today comes from that meeting with the Resurrected Lord, Who resurrected for us and instilled the joy of new life in all His followers and all the confessors of His Divine knowledge.

In the same way, the centuries separate us from the twilight of that Jerusalem day when the Resurrected Lord appeared to His followers, Cleopas and the other disciple. Frightened, they were hurrying from Jerusalem to Emmaus, so as to hide because of fear of the Jews. Even though they were not as courageous as the myrrhbearing women, they were made worthy of meeting with the Resurrected Lord. He hid His former image so that they could not recognize Him. But when He left them after a conversation about that which had taken place in Jerusalem and after the breaking of the bread, they confessed to one another how “their hearts were burning” while He was with them (cf. Luke 24:13-32). That same holy flame that burned in the hearts of Christ’s two disciples on the road to Emmaus burns even today in us as we celebrate this Feast of Feasts, as we too experience a spiritual meeting with the invisible Vanquisher of death. That same fire warmed and warms God’s Church in every period of her history. Did He not Himself say: “I have come to send fire upon the earth” (Luke 12: 49). That same holy fire warmed our ancestors and enlightened their lives in the dungeons of other centuries. They lived without homes for a long time, without homesteads, without freedom, in extreme insecurity, without possessions and property, as do many today who have been forced to leave their homesteads, but always with faith in the resurrected Lord, with the faith in the victory of justice and truth and with faith in the resurrection.

Furthermore, long centuries separate us from that first resurrectional evening, when the Resurrected Lord for the first time appeared to His frightened and disappointed disciples, and uttered a greeting of encouragement: “Peace be unto you!” (John 20:19). In an instant He returned peace to them, resurrecting their faith in Him and in His Divine dispensation. If the Son of God did not rise again, the history of Christianity would have been finished with His last words on the Cross: “It is finished!” (John 20:30). But He did rise again, and in the name of that truth His disciples joyfully gave up their lives for Him. Bearing this great truth, His Church has gone into victorious battle throughout the world, that without shedding blood she may conquer her numerous armed-to-the-teeth enemies.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5), the angel of the Lord admonished the holy Myrrhbearing Women who came to the tomb, as you have heard. They came to the tomb thirsty for truth and eternal life. And today millions and millions of spiritually impoverished and morally ravaged people, enthralled with the grandeur of passing things, live in this world as in a cold tomb. Is the world not becoming a factory and a market place of false brilliance and passing values? Is it not often said today that a man can walk peacefully upon this earth without heaven? It is as if contemporary man has climbed the heights of his Babylonian tower, confident in his own knowledge, but he is often petty, selfish, aggressive, and full of evil intentions that threaten his tower and his survival. We are afraid that this our civilization will too late remember Christ’s words: “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Our Savior became man so that we might become divine. He was willing to die on the cross in order to save mankind from their sins. He rose again from the dead in order to give us eternal life. He made death just another event in life – a life that knows no end. When Pilate judged the Savior, he had neither the spiritual strength nor the elevated mind to recognize in Him the Son of God. Despite all of this, the beauty of the human image of the suffering Savior could not be hidden before his eyes as he pronounced his sentence: “Behold, the man!” –to Jesus’ accusers (John 19:5). With this he attempted to influence, as much as possible, the conscience of the insensible murderers of Christ. He believed that His human brilliance would waver some of them.

We pray to our Resurrected Lord that in us may be resurrected the image of the original human nature, which today oftentimes is distorted, masked and smeared with numerous faults and sins. We pray that in us everyone may recognize people enlightened with His eternal life, be they wealthy or poor, be they in a great or small position or place. Our time is currently faced with a material crisis, but we currently face a greater crisis, that of morals and character. We will rejoice if everyone who looks upon us can say: Here is a man! – so that everyone, friend or enemy, judge or accuser, may identify in us a true and authentic human being. Let us, dear brothers and sisters, preserve our human dignity, which was so exalted by our Resurrected Son of God. Let us preserve faith in the Resurrected Lord, love towards our neighbors, and truth and justice; a love towards everything good for which people yearn, but which without the help of the Resurrected Lord and His Gospel is not achievable. Let us pray to the Resurrected Lord and let us implore Him, as did the two disciples who traveled on the road to Emmaus, to stay with us. Let us pray that we may rejoice in Him; that we may draw strength from Him; that we may be spiritually raised on high, so that we may not be overcome and carried away by the muddy floodwaters of our times.

Conveying this our message to all of our brothers and sisters, and most especially remembering today our faithful in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as our faithful worldwide, on all continents where Serbian Orthodox and all Orthodox Christians today celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, we, your Patriarch and all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Church, greet you with the greeting of Joy and New Life.

Christ Is Risen!
Indeed He Is Risen!

Given at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade at Pascha 2009.
Your prayerful intercessors before the Risen Lord:

Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch PAVLE with all the hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana JOVAN
Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Coastlands AMPHILOHIJE
Metropolitan of Midwestern America CHRISTOPHER
Metropolitan of Dabro-Bosna NIKOLAJ

Bishop of Sabac-Valjevo LAVRENTIJE
Bishop of Nis IRINEJ
Bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla VASILIJE
Bishop of Srem VASILIJE
Bishop of Banja Luka JEFREM
Bishop of Budim LUKIJAN
Bishop of Canada GEORGIJE
Bishop of Banat NIKANOR
Bishop for America and Canada of the New Gracanica Metropolitanate LONGIN
Bishop of Eastern America MITROPHAN
Bishop of Zica CHRYSOSTOM
Bishop of Backa IRINEJ
Bishop of Great Britain and Scandinavia DOSITEJ
Bishop of Ras and Prizren ARTEMIJE
Bishop of Bihac and Petrovac CHRYSOSTOM
Bishop of Osijek and Baranja LUKIJAN
Bishop of Central Europe CONSTANTINE
Bishop of Western Europe LUKA
Bishop of Timok JUSTIN
Bishop of Vranje PAHOMIJE
Bishop of Sumadija JOVAN
Bishop of Slavonia SAVA
Bishop of Branicevo IGNATIJE
Bishop of Milesevo FILARET
Bishop of Dalmatia FOTIJE
Bishop of Budimlje and Niksic JOANIKIJE
Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina GRIGORIJE
Bishop of Valjevo MILUTIN

Bishop of Western America MAXIM
Bishop of Gornji Karlovac GERASIM

Bishop of Australia and New Zealand IRINEJ

Retired Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina ATANASIJE
Vicar Bishop of Hvostno ATANASIJE
Vicar Bishop of Jegar PORFIRIJE
Vicar Bishop of Lipljan TEODOSIJE
Vicar Bishop of Dioclea JOVAN
Vicar Bishop of Moravica ANTONIJE

THE ARCHDIOCESE OF OCHRID
Archbishop of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skoplje JOVAN
Bishop of Polos and Kumanovo JOAKIM
Bishop of Bregal and locum tenens of the Diocese of Bitolj MARKO

Vicar Bishop of Stobija David

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His Eminence Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, on behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia received today at the Patriarchate Court Manolis Lamdzidis, a president of the Bar Association of Thessaloniki, and Yorgos Kukutsilis, a legal advisor of Patriarch Bartholomew, as well as members of the Head board of the Bar Association.

Their delegation came to Belgrade on the occasion of twinning of the bar associations of Thessaloniki and Belgrade. During their visit in the Serbian capital that has lasted for several days, guests has come in a brotherly love to take a blessing of our Holy Church. In a pleasant and friendly conversation His Eminence conveyed the greetings and the blessing of Patriarch Pavle of Serbia to Greek brothers and pointed out love of two nations that is otherworldly and timeless.

Lamdzidis on behalf of the Association congratulated Easter to Metropolitan Amfilohije and thanked the Serbian people for all effort and love toward Greece. Also Metropolitan congratulated back Easter and thanked the brotherly orthodox nation for help in hard days for Serbia at the end of the twentieth century.

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On 16th April 2009, His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of ALexandria and All Africa, was visited at the Patriarchal See by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Italy and Dean of the Urbaniana Pontifical University of Rome, His Eminence Ambrosio Spreafico, accompanied by Father Giorgio Ferretti, Secretary of the Fvosinove Archdiocese and high ranking member of the Community of St Egidio.

During the private visit between His Beatitude and His Eminence Archbishop Ambrosio in the Patriarchal Office, mention was made of the multifaceted work of the ancient Patriarchate in Africa; also discussed was the possibility of holding a Conference dedicated to the Apostle and Evangelist Mark in the places of North Africa where the Enlightener of the Alexandrian Church worked. Discussions were also held on collaboration between the Patriarchal Throne and the Community of St Egidio for the ease of the suffering people of the African Continent.

His Eminence Ambrosio thanked His Beatitude for the warm welcome which "is a special honour and blessing as it comes from the successor of the Great Fathers of the Alexandrian Church".

Commemorative gifts were exchanged, the guests were taken on a conducted tour of the Patriarchal Mansion and a lunch was hosted in the Patriarchal Refectory.

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Orthodox Church in America

SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] -- "In the Beginning" is the title of a conference for teachers, parents, youth ministers, and others interested in Orthodox Christian education, slated to be held at the Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, PA on Saturday, May 30, 2009.
Sponsored by the Department of Christian Education of the Orthodox Church in America, the conference is one of a series conducted in recent years in different regions of the country.
Matushka Valerie Zahirsky, a long-time DCE member and noted author, educator, and speaker, will be the keynote speaker. She will explore a variety of ways to teach major themes revealed in the book of Genesis.
Several workshops, exploring creative ideas and resources appropriate for home and classroom use and related topics, will also be offered throughout the day.
The $15.00 registration fee covers all conference materials and lunch. Checks payable to the Orthodox Church in America may be sent with registration forms, which may be downloaded together with a conference schedule and other information, here, to Mrs. Jewelann Stefanar, 4706 Bentwood Dr., Brooklyn, OH 44144-3153. Those requiring overnight accommodations may also contact Mrs. Stefanar at 216-741-0985 or jewelann1@roadrunner.com.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009, at the Patriarchal Residence in Bucharest, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, received His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, who is currently in Romania in an official trip.

During the talks, several topics of common interest were discussed, such as the affirmation of Christian values in European context; inter-Christian, inter-religious and inter-cultural dialog; solutions offered by the Christian spirituality for the global economic crisis etc.

Within this context, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel underlined that Christian values, which are the very matrix of Europe, must be affirmed and defended with strength from an increased secularization which threatens the very identity of our continent.

The Patriarch reminded the support received by the Romanian Orthodox communities abroad from other Christian Churches, through the offering of worship places, which constitutes a concrete way of inter-Christian cooperation. His Beatitude noticed the gradual advance from a theoretical inter-Christian and inter-religious dialog towards a practical and existential one, which answers with solidarity to the practical issues in people's lives.

His Serene Highness Albert II of Monaco has underlined the importance of the European Christian cultural heritage and the need for a practical cooperation in the cultural, economical and environmental fields. To this end, he appreciated Romania's openness towards the sources of renewable energy.

THE PRESS OFFICE OF THE ROMANIAN PATRIARCHATE

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On Friday 17 April 2009, His Holiness Aram I left Aleppo for Der Zor. The desert of Der Zor is the grave for a large number of Armenian victims of the Genocide by Turkey. Pilgrimage to Der Zor was the first big event to mark 2009 as the year of Armenian Youth. The pilgrimage was organized by the Diocese in Syria and the Diocese of Lebanon.

2500 Young pilgrims, high school and university students and members of youth movements and organizations, who had arrived from different parts of the world, gathered at the outskirts of the town of Der Zor. They began their several kilometres walk to the Genocide Memorial, remembering the journey of their great grandparents, their persecution, torture and rape.

The same evening, at 7 o’clock, His Holiness Aram I joined the young pilgrims. Commemorations began with the blessing of bread and salt at the entrance of the church and a special requiem for the dead. Later, Bishop Shahan Sarkissian, Prelate of Aleppo, and Bishop Kegham Khatcherian, Prelate of Lebanon, jointly lead a candlelight Vesper service.

On Saturday, 18 April 2009, the pilgrims went to the second station of the pilgrimage, the bank of the Euphrates River, in which the bodies of many victims had been washed away. After a brief silence the young pilgrims threw flowers into the river. At the end of this solemn moment, Catholicos Aram I addressed the youth from a nearby bridge. He said: “You should continue to challenge the conscience of the world by demanding restorative justice until Turkey takes responsibility for the Armenian Genocide. You should direct your just claims by advocating Human Rights, using political and diplomatic channels and not through violence.“ He then advised them to empower themselves through education and by choosing professions that would enable them for the pursuit of their just cause. This pilgrimage and 2009 as the year for Armenian Youth should become the driving force of this journey.

The third stop in the pilgrimage was the Holy Resurrection Church in Margadeh, which was the collective tomb for the remains of the victims that had been recovered. Rev. Dr. Paul Haydostian, President of the Armenian University Haigazian in Beirut, addressed the pilgrims. He said: “We are standing on this special place where the remains of our ancestors have been dissolved into the desert sand. Most of you have names that were also the names given to the persons who died here. Let us use this special moment to choose education and knowledge as the instrument to keep alive the memory of our martyrs and continue to advocate for our just cause”.

The pilgrimage ended by His Holiness Aram I sending the young pilgrims back to their countries with the message: “You are the custodians of the Armenian cause and should, therefore, work tirelessly for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey.”

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On Sunday 20 April, His Holiness Aram I presided over a Requiem Service in memory of the 30,000 victims of the massacres in Adana in 1909. After the Divine Liturgy and the memorial service, the faithful listened to the Pontifical letter His Holiness Aram I had sent to all the Prelates, informing them of the 90th anniversary of the massacres in Adana, and asking them to organize special events to remember the victims of this second largest massacre by the Ottoman Turk


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KAREKIN II, SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST,
BY THE MERCY OF GOD AND THE WILL OF THE NATION
CHIEF BISHOP AND CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS,
SUPREME PATRIARCH OF THE PAN-NATIONAL PREEMINENT ARARATIAN SEE
THE APOSTOLIC MOTHER CHURCH OF UNIVERSAL HOLY ETCHMIADZIN.
CHRIST-BEQUEATHED GREETINGS OF LOVE AND PONTIFICAL BLESSINGS
TO THE CATHOLICIOSATE OF THE GREAT HOUSE OF CILICIA,
TO THE ARMENIAN PATRIARCHATES
OF HOLY JERUSALEM AND CONSTANTINOPLE,
TO ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, PRIESTS AND DEACONS,
TO DIOCESAN ASSEMBLIES,
DIOCESAN AND PAROCHIAL COUNCILS AND OFFICERS,
AND TO ALL BELOVED FAITHFUL ARMENIAN PEOPLE
We convey our Pontifical love and blessings from the Altar of Light – the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, to all our people in Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora.
This year we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the massacres of Armenians in Adana and various settlements of Cilician Armenia, remembering our countless martyrs, and recalling the grave and catastrophic period of our history at the beginning of the last century. We commemorate the immortal memory of our forefathers, who in ferocious times of massacres and genocide, rose to heroic struggle, who "by their faith they displayed their courage, and were praised by men and justified by God." Yeghishé
The Cilician massacres were the continuation of the plans of Sultan Abdul Hamid II to "eliminate" the Armenian question by annihilating the Armenian population. In the 1890s, approximately 300,000 Armenians were murdered in Ottoman Turkey through bloody pogroms. The Young Turks, having ascended to power in Turkey, and who had guaranteed the equality of ethnic groups, the defense of human rights, and the security of the individual and of property, greater intensified persecutions against the Armenian people living on their historical homeland and throughout other regions of Turkey. In April 1909, new pogroms were initiated in Adana, where 30,000 additional Armenians were murdered. To defend their right to life and liberty, Armenians relied on self-defense and took up arms, with faith and reliance on God in their souls, and love for their homeland and the Mother Church in their hearts.
The courageous Armenians of Adana, the valiant men of Zeitun, Van, Moush, Musa Ler, and Armenians living in various regions of historic Armenia, struggled to defend their right to life, liberty, justice and peace with a triumphant faith and a spirit of bravery. It is with this same faith and strong will that the brave sons and daughters of our nation have battled in the freedom-struggles of May 1918, on the battlefields of World War II, and the heroic war for the liberation of Artsakh.
More than nine decades have passed since the Genocide of the Armenians. However, our tragedy-stricken people, who lost more than one and one-half million souls in the genocide planned and executed by the Turkish authorities, never ceased to hope for the universal condemnation of the crimes committed against our forebears. And they continue to always raise their voice of protest in the name of justice for the entire world to hear, so that similar calamities never again darken human life.
The Armenian Genocide opened a bloody and dark page of unheard of tragedy not only for our people, but in the history of all nations. The delay in the condemnation of the Genocide of the Armenians encouraged similar crimes to take place yet again, and the world witnessed new genocides. In human life today, policies of ethnic persecution and fanatic nationalism cause serious concern, and demand the unified, universal and immediate condemnation by international society. The expression of the will and desire to eliminate ethnic discrimination, trampling of national rights, violence, inter-ethnic intolerance, and offenses committed against a people, shall be the universal recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian people, with this hope and faith, but with the unhealed pain of genocide and the righteous demand for resolution to the "Armenian Cause" in their hearts, are building a new life in their free and independent homeland and throughout the world.
Dear faithful sons and daughters, as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian massacres in Adana and Cilicia, we once again call for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide for the sake of a world free of violence, at peace and in prosperity. Through the blessings and assistance of Almighty God, and the unceasing efforts of our people, the new dawn of justice shall open in our lives, and the righteous verdict will be granted to our Armenian nation. Let us remain steadfast in our faith, in our love of God, our love for one another and in our just cause. Let us remain steadfast in our will and desire to vigilantly protect our native memories and national legacy, and let us always live with love for our Lord Jesus Christ, our Holy Church and our homeland. Let us pray to God Almighty for the unified efforts of our people to be bountiful and produce fruitful results in our national-ecclesiastical spheres, for the love of our homeland and Armenian life dispersed throughout the world, our bright future and the manifestation of all national aspirations.
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 1:7
With Blessings,

KAREKIN II
CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS
Encyclical issued on the 15th of April
In the Year of our Lord 2009 and in the date of the Armenians 1458
At the Mother Monastery of Holy Etchmiadzin
Number 513

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On the morning of April 24, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, visited the National Memorial to the Armenian Genocide, located on Tsitsernakaberd Hill in Yerevan. His Holiness was accompanied by members of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin.
At the memorial, His Holiness Karekin II and His Excellency Serzh Sargsian, President of the Republic of Armenia, placed floral wreaths before the eternal flame of the monument. His Holiness presided during a Requiem service dedicated to the memory of the 1.5 million innocent victims of the first genocide of the 20th century.
Also present for the ceremony were high-ranking goverment officials, members of the National Assembly, Armenian Church benefactors from the Diaspora and other dignitaries.
The same day, a solemn Divine Liturgy was celebrated in the Mother Cathedral of of Holy Etchmiadzin by His Grace Bishop Arshak Khachatrian, Chancellor of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. His Grace delivered a message in remembrance of this crime against humanity.
Following the Liturgy, a procession of clergy escorted the Catholicos to the Memorial of the Armenian Genocide located on the grounds of the Mother See, north of the Mother Cathedral. Standing near the monument of Khatchkars (Stone-crosses), His Holiness presided during a special Repose of Souls service. Also in attendance during the services was His Excellency Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Vatican Nuncio to the Southern Caucasus.

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Moscow, April 21, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church has asked the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR), which started in Geneva on Monday, to introduce into international law the notion of Christianophobia.

"It is very important to the Russian Orthodox Church to raise the issue of introducing to the list of threats the notion of Christianophobia in addition to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia," deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Georgy Ryabykh told Interfax-Religion.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon mentioned anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in his speech at the opening ceremony of the conference, the priest said, regretting that the UN secretary general did not "say a single word about Christianophobia."

Today there are a lot of "examples of violations of Christians' rights, insults of their feelings, public distortion of the Christian teaching to make the notion of Christianophobia enter the international circulation."

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Moscow, April 24, Interfax - Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada elected head of the Orthodox Church in America in November is to arrive in Russia on Saturday, according to a report posted on the Moscow Patriarchate website.

During his visit which will continue until May 4 Metropolitan Jonah will meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and visit holy places in Moscow, the Holy Trinity - St. Sergius Laura and the Valaam Monastery. Metropolitan Jonah and Patriarch Kirill will also jointly conduct religious services at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral on April 26 and at the Kremlin's Cathedral of the Assumption on May 3.

The Orthodox Church is America is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Church in North America. Its former primate, Metropolitan Herman, retired last September, citing health reasons.

Metropolitan Jonah (James Paffhausen) was born in Chicago, IL, in a Protestant family. He was received into the Orthodox Church in 1978 at Our Lady of Kazan Moscow Patriarchal Church, San Diego, while a student at the University of California, San Diego.

In 1988, he graduated from St. Vladimir's Seminary. In early 1990s he worked at the Publishing Department of the Moscow Patriarchate, and had an exposure to monastic life during his stay in Valaam Monastery. The spiritual father of the monastery's abbot, the Elder Kirill at Trinity St. Sergius Laura, blessed James to become a monk, and in 1995, after ordaining to the diaconate and priesthood, he was tonsured to monastic rank at St. Tikhon's Monastery, South Canaan, PA, having received the name Jonah. Later, he established a monastery under the patronage of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco.

In the spring of 2008, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America elevated Fr. Jonah to the rank of Archimandrite and he was given the obedience to leave the monastery and take on the responsibilities of auxiliary bishop and chancellor for the Diocese of the South.

On November, Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America.

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Moscow, April 19, Interfax - On the eve of the Resurrection of Christ, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia turned to his flock with his first Paschal message.

"Christ's resurrection is the foundation of a life that has conquered death, sin and corruption. We are called to relive Easter as the triumph of life not only on this day: every Sunday reveals to us the majesty of the Saviour's feat, liberating us from death and destroying the fetters of sin which separate man from God," Patriarch Kirill reminded.

He urged believers to value "generous revelation of divine mercy," communicated to humanity on the feast of Easter.

"Where blood is shed and people suffer, where the image of God is trampled upon in pursuit of greed, conflict and selfishness, let us come to the defense of this image by fulfilling our Christian vocation," the Patriarch writes, calling believers to ensure that "the life of all society be constructed according to God's commandments, for it is only in fulfilling them that we will be granted the fullness and harmony of being."

"In these difficult times let us reveal our Christian vocation through deeds, let us support each other so that no one feels himself humiliated, abandoned, poor or denigrated," Patriarch Kirill writes.

The Primate in particular appealed to young people who, according to him, are "faced with the broad field of labours, hopes and achievements."

"Before you lies the task of creating through your own endeavours the future of our nation and our Church. May the powers, talents and abilities given to you by God be used for the good of your neighbours, for the fulfillment of your vocation and for the attaining of God's holy will," Patriarch Kirill said to all young people.

Tonight, the Patriarchal message will be read out in all churches of the Russian Orthodox Church, their number equals to about thirty thousand.

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Mourners this afternoon packed a suburban Philadelphia church to say their final farewells to Constantine Papadakis, 63, the visionary president of Drexel University.

Papadakis, who had battled lung cancer for a year, died suddenly April 5 of a pulmonary complication after a long bout with pneumonia.

At St. Luke's Greek Orthodox Church in Broomall, every seat was occupied, standees lined the back rows, and crowds spilled into two adjoining rooms where television monitors displayed images of the noontime service.

Papadakis' body lay in state at the front of the church as a man and a woman in traditional Greek dress stood nearby.

Standing behind bright yellow flowers that topped the casket, Archbishop Demetrios and another Greek Orthodox official, Metropolitan Evangelos, led hymns, prayers, and biblical readings in Greek and English.

A painting of Jesus looked down from the dome above the nave of the church. Light-colored wood-framed portraits of saints and other religious figures lined the base of the dome and behind the solea, or ceremonial area.

Papadakis' daughter Maria struggled to speak about the father she loved so much.

"He helped people more than he realized," she said. "We all wish we could see him one more time to tell him how much he meant to us."

She drew polite laughter when she said "maybe God wanted a university up in heaven and he wanted the best man for the job."

She said Papadakis was probably trying to recruit Socrates to head up the philosophy department and Einstein to be in charge of science.

Manny Stamatakis, the chairman of the trustees of the medical college said that leaders usually have strong enemies as well as great friends.

"Taki only had great friends," Stamatakis said. "He was living proof that one person could make a difference."

Dignitaries in attendance were Sen. Bob Casey, Mayor Michael Nutter, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, and senior diplomats from the consulates of Greece and Panama.

"It was just a great testament to him," Sen. Casey said of the service. "I was telling his wife, I've rarely met someone who is both so dynamic and warm at the same time. I wish I got to know him better. The whole region will miss him."

At Drexel's main campus in West Philadelphia, more than 100 staff, students and parents gathered in an auditorium to watch the simulcast of the funeral.

Mourners were given a pamphlet detailing Papadakis' life and legacy, and a laminated prayer card.

The funeral was webcast to four locations across Philadelphia, and Drexel classes were suspended for the duration of the service.

Drexel lecturer John Maxwell, of the criminal justice department, said he had come to pay his respects to a "very dynamic person."

"When I was new, he stopped me and asked my name. He was just a very sincere guy," Maxwell said.

Drexel sophomore Steve Newman said he came to honor Papadakis, who was also a friend of his family. His grandmother, a Drexel alumna, was a classmate of Papadakis' during the 1950s and they remained friends, he said.

"She would talk about him all the time," Newman said. "She is really distraught."

Papadakis, known to his friends as Taki, presided over an unprecedented expansion of the University. During his 13-year tenure, Drexel added both a law school and medical school. Recently, Papadakis had proposed expanding Drexel to the West Coast with a four-year campus near Sacramento, Calif.

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April 9th is approaching, a day that has left its mark on our consciousness as the day on which our nation fought for freedom and regained its independence. Twenty years have passed since then. Times have changed and the problems we face have changed as well. However, as was the case in the past, now too this country faces dangers which each of us must spare no effort in avoiding. 

In official statements, both the government and opposition rule out violence as they believe that their strength lies in the use of peaceful methods. This is truly the case. Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to solve all problems in peace, kindness and love. However the danger of provocation cannot be ruled out. 

It is for this reason that I am once again appealing to the government not to allow the use of force against its own people. 

I call on the opposition to utilise only peaceful means of protest. 

I call on the police and the military to remember that your neighbour, your flesh and blood will be standing before you. 

I call on each and every participant in the rally to remember that any form of aggression, including verbal abuse, is unacceptable and that any manifestation of this must be stopped by you yourselves. 

I would like to address the ethnic minority population of Georgia. We have many ill-wishers and so it cannot be ruled out that you could also become targets for provocation aimed at creating new sources of tension. You are children of Georgia so I hope that you will demonstrate your love and loyalty to this country and will protect it if need be. 

Let me remind you of the Words of our Lord: “All who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matt 26:52) 

The deliberate or negligent actions of individuals that place our country’s future in the balance and cause bloodshed will prove to be a burden for these people and their descendents. God forbid! 

All of us, the government, the opposition, the people and the Church must do what is right and what our country needs. 

Let us not be radical and let us remember that the good of the country is more important than our personal well being and prosperity. 

Grace to you and peace from Him who is, who was and who is to come. (Rev 1:4) 

Amen! 

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Statement by the Patriarchate of Georgia

As it emerged, initially reports were circulated in the Azerbaijani press claiming that Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II had made a statement that contained abusive remarks to Muslims. This is a blatant lie and a far-reaching religious-political provocation. Later it was said additionally that such an idea had been published in the English language official website of the Patriarchate of Georgia and that this report disappeared from the website on 6 April. 

The editorial group of the website of the Patriarchate flatly denies the truthfulness of these reports and considers them to be deliberate actions taken by certain interested groups. 

For our part we would like to state that more than once in crisis situations the Patriarchate of Georgia made statements to condemn violence against Muslims and offensive acts to their religious feelings. Why would the Patriarchate act in a contrary manner now?! It is also unclear why the Patriarchate would want to offend the Muslim representatives of our nation living in the neighbouring countries (Gurjis, Lazis, Fereidanis, Georgians living in Azerbaijan) or the ethnic Georgian and non-ethnic-Georgian Muslims living in Georgia who are devoted children of our country?! 

Those who provided the Azerbaijani agencies with the false reports concerning [the stance of] the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia and the Patriarchate can only be ill-wishers of the Georgian and the Azerbaijani peoples. The peaceful coexistence of the Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Georgia and the exemplary friendship of their spiritual leaders, or the well-disposition of the Caucasus Region and the entire Islamic world towards the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia and Georgia in general, is not in the interests of these people. 

We would like to note with gratitude that the spiritual leader of the Caucasus Muslims, Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade, rightly assessed the abovementioned incident and described it as a misuse of the modern computer technologies aiming at further destabilization of the social and political situation in Georgia. 

We do believe that the secular and religious authorities of Azerbaijan, as well as the Muslims living in Georgia and beyond its borders will not allow the authors of this provocation to pursue their far-reaching aims. 

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Moscow, April 16, Interfax – First time for twenty years the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia has conducted the ordinance of the Foot Washing and washed the feet of twelve priests on the Holy Thursday.

An extract from the Gospel telling how Jesus Christ washed feet of the twelve apostles at the Last Supper was read during the rite held at Epiphany Cathedral in Moscow. 

Patriarch Kirill performed actions described in the Holy Scripture. He took off his mantle, girded a special long towel around his waist, poured water from the jar into the basin, washed and dried feet of twelve priests. 

Archpriest Vladimir Divakov, the Patriarch’s Secretary for Moscow city, as the senior-ranking clergyman among those whose feet were being washed, spoke the words of Apostle Peter at the Last Supper. 

“It is a visual act, here a ritual action helps us understand the depth of Divine humility and condescension,” Patriarch Kirill said in his sermon. 

The Primate of the Russian Church reminded that for our salvation the Lord Jesus Christ “being all-mighty, became a poor, ordinary man,” and “did things that slaves usually did to show that every personality is valuable before God.”

The Patriarch urged to “always remember that line of duty and honors following it, can in no way blur the truth that all are equal before God.”

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Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has denounced NATO on the tenth anniversary of the Kosovo War and pledged its support to the Serbian Orthodox Church and government in its bid to regain Kosovo.
In a letter addressed to Patriarch Paul of Belgrade published on the Moscow Patriarchate’s website on March 24, Kirill stated “the Russian Church will endeavour to raise its voice and protect God’s truth, protect our Orthodox brothers and sisters living in the Kosovo district of Serbia and exiled from it, protect all victims of violence and flouting of justice.”

The expulsion of Kosovo’s Serb population following the war, has led to the wholesale destruction of Serbian religious and cultural sites by Kosovo’s Albanian majority, Serbia has claimed. The Russian Patriarch condemned the destruction of Orthodox churches, monasteries and religious sites saying the “the hands of impious” Albanians had fallen “with impunity” against the “sacred things in the heart of Serbian orthodoxy.”

The Russian government has also opposed Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, and has strongly opposed NATO’s attempts to resolve the conflict by backing the Kosovar independence.

NATO’s intervention on the side of the Kosovar Albanians was unjust, Kirill said. “Several countries, being sure they have the right to determine world’s fate, united to impose their will on a nation,” he said. The Russian Orthodox Church “has more than once spoke up to support our Sister-Church regarding the ways of settling the current crisis,” and would continue its campaign against Kosovar independence.

“Your sorrows are the pain of the entire Orthodox Church,” Kirill told Pa
triarch Paul.

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Brussels, April 16, Interfax – Archpriest Antony Ilyin, acting representative of the Moscow patriarchate in European international organizations, has called for the creation of a group promoting Orthodox values in the European Parliament.

"The creation by Orthodox parliamentarians of a group promoting orthodox values in the agenda of the European parliament of the new convocation and in the socio-political life of the EU in general is an ambitious, but a realistic task," Fr. Antony told Interfax-Religion.

Several parliamentarians, including Tatyana Zhdanok (Latvia) and Slavi Binev (Bulgaria) have reached an agreement to coordinate their efforts in their direction if they get re-elected.

The priest also recalled the position of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on the contribution of the Orthodox civilization to the future of Europe.
"The project of European integration began as a Western project, but it can no longer continue as purely Western, especially after the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU, and also taking into account the 8 million Russian diaspora in the EU countries, which is culturally connected to Russian Orthodox traditions," Fr. Antony said

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On April 14, at the study of the Metropolitan's residence at the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church conferred church awards on a group of scientists of the Ukrainian Academy of Historical Science. In particular, the orders "1020 years of Baptism of Kyivan Rus" were granted to academicians Petro Panchenko and Alexander Utkin, Volodymyr Gorelov (Candidate of Historical Science, retired colonel), Mykola Kroma (Candidate of Historical Science, retired colonel), Igor Chichkan (retired colonel), and Igor Khrulenko (retired lieutenant colonel). A group of scientists from different scientific educational establishments of the capital, dealing with the issues of the war history of Ukraine, of the national and religious revival, patriotic upbringing, conducts large-scale work on promulgation of the spiritual heritage of the Ukrainian nation, assertion of the self-conscience, statehood and security development of Ukraine. The problems mentioned are highlighted in the lectures, radio and TV programs, other media, in the articles and monographs on the regular basis.

On April 14, at the residence of the Primate of the UOC the regular session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was held, presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Journals of the Session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of April 14, 2009
JOURNAL № 15
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the report of His Eminence Metrophanes, Archbishop of Bila Tserkva and Bohuslav, Administrator of the UOC, Chair of the Commission on Preparation of the visit of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to Ukraine on the course of preparation forthe visit of His Holiness patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to Ukraine, which is scheduled for July 27 - August 5, 2009. RESOLVED: 1. To take the information into consideration2. To approve the presented composition of the Commission on Preparation of the visit of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to Ukraine: 1) Archbishop Metrophanes of Bila Tserkva and Bohuslav, Administrator of the UOC - Chair of the Commission;2) Metropolitan Hilarion of Donetsk and Mariupol;3) Metropolitan Lazarus of Crimea and Simferopol;4) Archbishop Pavel of Vyshgorod, Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, Deputy Abbot of the Holy Dormition Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra;5) Archbishop Volodymyr of Pochayiv, Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, Deputy Abbot of the Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra;6) Bishop Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi, Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, Secretary for the Primate of the UOC;7) Archpriest Vitaly Kosovskyi, Secreatry of the Kyiv Metropolis;8) Archimandrite Kirill (Hovorun), Chair of the Department for External Church Relations of the UOC;9) Archpriest George Kovalenko, Press-Secretary for the Primate of the UOC;10) Hegumeness Seraphima (Bandura), Abbess of the Holy Dormition Stauropegial Monastery of Zimne;11) Hegumeness Seraphima (Shevchyk), Abbess of the Convent of St. Michel the Archangel, Head of the Synodal Department "Mission Church and Culture";12) Reznikova Olena Mykolayivna;13) Granovsky Volodymyr Mykolayovych;14) Olishchuk Lyudmyla Dmytriyovna.3. To turn to the President of Ukraine, to the Head of the Government of Ukraine, state authorities and the episcopate of the UOC with a request to render all possible support in preparation of the visit of His Holiness the Patriarch to Ukraine.
JOURNAL № 16
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the information of His Beatitude Volodymyr, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine on approval of the jubilee mark of distinction dedicated to 450 years of bringing of the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Pochayiv to Volyn. RESOLVED: to approve the draft of the jubilee mark of distinction dedicated to 450 years of bringing of the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Pochayiv to Volyn.
JOURNAL № 17
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the report of His Eminence Volodymyr, Archbishop of Pochayiv, Vicar of the Kyiv Metropolis, Deputy Abbot of the Holy Dormition Lavra of Pochayiv, on approval of the schedule of activities related to the celebration of the 450th anniversary of bringing in the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Pochayiv to Volyn and the 350th anniversary of invention of incorruptible relics of the Venerable John of Pochayiv (July 31 - August 6, 2009).RESOLVED: to approve the presented schedule of activities related to the celebration of the 450th anniversary of bringing in the Wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God of Pochayiv to Volyn and the 350th anniversary of invention of incorruptible relics of the Venerable John of Pochayiv (July 31 - August 6, 2009).
JOURNAL № 18
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the report of His Grace Joasaph, Bishop of Nova Kahovka and Beryslav on changing the title of the ruling bishops of the Diocese of Nova Kahovka to "(bishop) of Nova Kahovka and Genychesk". RESOLVED: to approve the title of the ruling bishops of the Diocese of Nova Kahovka "(bishop) of Nova Kahovka and Genychesk".
JOURNAL № 19
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the report of His Eminence Vasyl (Zlatolynskyi), Archbishop of Zaporizhya and Melitopol on his dismissal from administration of the Diocese of Zaporizhya and retirement due to the health condition. RESOLVED: 1. To dismiss His Eminence Vasyl, Archbishop of Zaporizhya and Melitopol from administration of the Diocese of Zaporizhya due to the health condition and to accept his retirement, expressing gratitude for the undertaken labours. 2. To assign the city of Zaporizhya as the place of residence of the Most Reverend Vasyl (Zlatolynskyi). 3. To entrust care and keeping of the Most Reverend Vasyl (Zaltolynskyi) on the Diocesan administration of Zaporizhya. 4. To appoint the Right Reverend Joseph (Maslennikov), bishop of Vilnyansk, Vicar of the Diocese of Zaporizhya, to the office of Bishop of Zaporizhya and Melitopol, removing him from the office of the Vicar of the Diocese of Zaporizhya. 5. To detach the district of Vasyliv from the composition of the Diocese of Zaporizhya and to integrate it into the Diocese of Berdyansk, and to send corresponding decrees whereof.
JOURNAL № 20
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the information of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine on opening the Nativity of the Theotokos (men's) Monastery of Tithes in Kyiv. RESOLVED: to bless the opening of the Nativity of the Theotokos (men's) Monastery of Tithes in Kyiv.
JOURNAL № 21
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the report of His Eminence Ioann, Archbishop of Kherson and Tavryisk, head of the Canonization Commission of the UOC on establishment of the local veneration of the Synaxis of the Venerable Fathers and Venerable Martyrs of Zvirynets on the fifth week of the Great Lent. RESOLVED: to bless establishment of the local veneration of the Synaxis of the Venerable Fathers and Venerable Martyrs of Zvirynets on the fifth week of the Great Lent.
JOURNAL № 22
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the report of His Grace Philip, Archbishop of Poltava and Myrhorod on establishment of the local veneration of the Icon of the Mother of God of Gorbaniv on September 29/October 12. RESOLVED: bless establishment of the local veneration of the Icon of the Mother of God of Gorbaniv on September 29/October 12.
JOURNAL № 23
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the report of His Eminence Mark, Archbishop of Khust and Vynohradiv, on establishment of the local veneration of the invention of the honorable relics of the Venerable Job of Ugolka on October 9/22.RESOLVED: to bless establishment of the local veneration of the invention of the honorable relics of the Venerable Job of Ugolka on October 9/22.
JOURNAL № 24
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the report of His Eminence Ioann, Archbishop of Kherson and Tavriysk, Chair of the Commission on Canonization of Saints of the UOC on glorifying Archbishop Philaret of Chernihiv (Humilevskyi, +9. 08. 1866) among the ranks of the locally venerated saints of the Diocese of Chernihiv.Having considered the life, labours, feats and miracles, and taking into account the people's veneration of Archbishop Philaret (Humilevskyi) of Chernihiv, RESOLVED: 1. To bless local veneration and glorification of Archbishop Philaret of Chernihiv (Humilevskyi).2. To approve the icon image of the Holy Hierarch Philaret. 3. To consider his remnants the sacred relics.4. To perform commemoration of the Holy Hierarch Philaret of Chernhiv on August 9/22.5. To raise thanksgiving prayers to the Lord, wonderful in His saints, who revealed a new man of prayer for our Holy Church and our people.
JOURNAL № 25
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the report of His Eminence Ioann, Archbishop of Kherson and Tavriysk, Chair of the Commission on Canonization of Saints of the UOC on glorifying among the ranks of the locally venerated saints - ascetics of piety, who fought a good fight in the Sophrony-Molchensk Nativity of the Theotokos Caves Monastery of the Diocese of Konotop:1. Archimandrite Theodosius (Maslov);2. Hieromonk Serapion;3. Elder Sophrony (Batovrin);4. Novice Sergy Tikhonov.Having considered the life, labours, feats and miracles, and taking into account the people's veneration of the ascetics of piety mentioned, who lived in the Sophrony-Molchensk Nativity of the Theotokos Caves Monastery of the Diocese of Konotop, RESOLVED: 1. To bless for the local glorification and veneration as venerable fathers:1) Archimandrite Theodosius (Maslov);2) Hieromonk Serapion;;3) Elder Sophrony (Batovrin);and as fool for Christ 4) Novice Sergy Tikhonov..2. To approve the icon image of the saints.3. To consider their remnants the sacred relics.4. To perform their commemoration on May 12/25.5. To raise thanksgiving prayers to the Lord, wonderful in His saints, who revealed new men of prayer for our Holy Church and our people.

JOURNAL № 26
The session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine - CONSIDERED the report of His Eminence Luka, Archbishop of Hlukhiv and Konotop on deposition from the holy orders of the out-of-staff clergyman of the Diocese of Konotop Hieromonk Hermogene (Yakubovskyi). Proceeding from the Canons of the Holy Apostles No. 25, 26, 27, 42, 43, 54; of the 1st Ecumenical Council No. 2, 9, 10; of the Council in Trullo No. 33; of St. Basil the Great No. 3, 32, 51; of Gregory of Nyssa No. 5, 6; of the Prime-Second Council No. 9 - RESOLVED: to depose from the holy orders the out-of-staff clergyman of the Diocese of Konotop Hieromonk Hermogene (Yakubovskyi).
† Volodymyr, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine,Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox ChurchMembers of the Holy Synod of the UOC:† Nicodemus, Metropolitan of Kharkiv and Bogodukhiv † Agathangel, Metropolitan of Odessa and Izmail † Ioanniky, Metropolitan of Luhansk and Alchevsk † Onuphry, Metropolitan of Chernivtsi and Bukovyna † Hilarion, Metropolitan of Donetsk and Mariupol† Sophrony, Metropolitan of Cherkasy and Kaniv † Mark, Archbishop of Khust and Vynohradiv † Luka, Archbishop of Konotop and Glukhiv † Metrophanes, Archbishop of Bila Tserkva and Bohuslav, Executive Administrator of the UOC




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