From Worldwide Faith News <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date Wed, 28 May 2008 08:58:19 -0700
GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF AMERICA
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2008
Contact: Stavros Papagermanos
Archbishop Demetrios at Christ the Savior Cathedral
Hosted by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk
MOSCOW ? Archbishop Demetrios of America revisitted the massive Christ the Savior Cathedral on Sunday, May 25, in the same Church where he led the Official Delegation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate eight years ago at the Consecration of this, the largest church building in Russia. Standing in the Altar with brother Hierarchs Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta and Bishop Savas of Troas, the Archbishop followed the Divine Service presided over by Archbishop Arseny, an Assistant Hierarch to Patriarch Alexy, and whose main duty is to be responsible for all the clergy of Moscow. During the Divine Liturgy, the lay portion of the Delegation was seated in a place of honor to the right of the Altar, where they witnessed the Cathedral filled both with pious faithful, and with the finest examples of Russian ecclesiastical music.
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Arseny introduced the Archbishop to the faithful, together with the accompanying Hierarchs. He warmly welcomed the Archdiocese as a whole to the Cathedral (which was demolished by Stalin and only rebuilt ?? exactly as it was ? in recent years), and invited the Archbishop to address the congregation and clergy. The Archbishop spoke on this occasion in Greek, with a translator conveying his words in Russian.
The Archbishop spoke of the great emotion he felt returning to Christ the Savior after eight years, when he represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, by leading the Patriarchal Delegation that participated in the Consecration of the Cathedral. He spoke of the remarkable progress of the Russian Orthodox Church and congratulated Patriarch Alexy for his leadership. Finally, as the Archbishop presented a Commemorative Plate to the Dean of the Cathedral in honor of the occasion, he reminded the faithful, who are fully aware of the symbolic value of the rebirth of Christ the Savior, thatâ??whatever the obstacle, whatever the challenge, whatever the difficulty, in the end, the words on this Plate â??IC XC NIKAâ?? are the final witness: Jesus Christ Conquers!â?? As the assembled faithful followed the translation and heard this final praise to God for the miracle of the rebirth of the Russian Orthodox Church, as one body they bowed their heads and made the sign of the Cross. Then, as the Choir sang â??Eis Polla Etiâ?? the Archbishop blessed the congregation and was led with the whole delegation on a private tour of the Cathedral.
In the afternoon, the Archbishop and the delegation were hosted at a formal luncheon hosted by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, the Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate. Also in attendance from the Russian Orthodox Church were Bishop Mark of Egorievsk and Protopresbyter Nikolai Balashov, both of whom had accompanied the delegation to the Holy Trinity-St. Segrgius Lavra, and who served with the Clergy at the Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin on Saturday the 24th. The luncheon was an opportunity for lively discussion among all the participants, and ended with an exchange of gifts: Metropolitan Kirill presented the Archbishop with an Engolpion (Hierarchal insignia) and every member of the delegation with a gift. The Archbishop presented Metropolitan Kirill with a Cross and Engolpion set, Bishop Mark with an Engolpion, and Fr. Balashov with a Cross. When the luncheon concluded, the Archbishop, accompanied by the Hierarchs and staff, retired together with Metropolitan Kirill and his clergy for a round of private talks.
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