On Thursday, February 2, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan met once more with His Eminence Agathangel, Metropolitan of Odessa & Izmail, who presented His Grace with a beautiful panagia set in honor of his visit and upcoming namesday.
With Metropolitan Agathangel’s blessing, Bishop Nicholas then served a moleben before the relics of Venerable Kuksha of Odessa, before departing for St. Panteleimon’s Monastery, where he was greeted by Bishop Arcadius of Ovidiopol, vicar of the Diocese of Odessa. The two vicars then shared some time in brotherly interaction before the day’s most significant event.
That evening, relics of the Holy Great-Martyr & Healer Panteleimon were brought to Odessa from the Holy Mountain (Mt. Athos). As reported by the official site of the Diocese of Odessa:
In the presence of a large gathering of the faithful, His Eminence Agathangel, Metropolitan of Odessa & Izmail, greeted the reliquary containing a piece of the relics of the Great-Martyr & Healer Panteleimon in Holy Transfiguration Cathedral… after which he served a moleben to that saint, co-served by His Grace Arcadius, Bishop of Ovidiopol; His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan, vicar of the Eastern American Diocese; His Grace Diodorus, Bishop of Yuzhnoe; His Grace Victor, Bishop of Artsiz; His Grace Sergius, Bishop of Bolgrad; Archimandrite Seraphim (Rakovsky; rector of the Odessa Theological Seminary), and more than one hundred clerics of the Diocese of Odessa.
In his archpastoral sermon, His Eminence noted that, ‘Today, we who are gathered here in the spiritual heart of Odessa – the reborn Holy Transfiguration Cathedral – along with all Odessites, have received great joy. A great holy relic has come to us from the Monastery of St. Paul on the Holy Mountain of Athos, the appanage of the Most Holy Theotokos: the precious head of the Holy Great-Martyr & Healer Panteleimon, which has been safeguarded there over the course of many centuries…
‘We thank our Lord Jesus Christ for granting us this joy, blessing the beginning of our year… Over the course of many centuries, St. Panteleimon has been the patron saint of physicians, and the faithful have run to him in prayer, in order that they might receive healing from diseases that could not be overcome by human efforts. For this reason, today we bear witness to the great throngs of people who, loving this holy healer, have come here in order to pray before his relics, asking for help and healing.’
More information on the greeting of the relics, as well as the full text of Metropolitan Agathangel’s sermon (in Russian) and a video of the greeting can be found on the official website of the Diocese of Odessa here.