On Friday, March 23, His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan (temporary administrator of the Western European Diocese), arrived in the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Geneva, Switzerland. The hierarch was greeted by clergy of the diocesan cathedral. In his sermon, Bishop Nicholas relayed to the flock the blessing of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, who called all to genuine Christian love and worthy labors for the glory of the parish, abiding in obedience to the Mother Church.
Before the start of the evening services, a friendly reception was held in the parish library between the administrator of the Diocese, clerics, and faithful. Afterward, Bishop Nicholas led Matins with the reading of the Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos.
On Saturday morning, March 24, the feast of the Laudation of the Mother of God, Bishop Nicholas celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by clerics of the diocesan cathedral. In his sermon, His Grace underlined the importance of the earthly life and struggle of the Most Holy Theotokos in the salvation of all mankind. Bishop Nicholas urged all of the faithful to sincerely appeal to the Mother of God in their daily prayers and be worthy of the noble title of Christian, mindful of fasting, prayer, pious work, and the need for daily reading of the Holy Scripture. After Divine Liturgy, a panihida was served for the ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus (+2008); Archbishop Anthony (+1993) Bishop Leonty (+1956; both Bartoshevich), departed clergy, and parishioners of the cathedral. After interaction with the faithful, His Grace led the All-Night Vigil on the eve of the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent.
On Sunday morning, the feast of Venerable Mary of Egypt, Bishop Nicholas celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the diocesan cathedral. His Grace was co-served by cathedral clerics. Many parishioners flocked to the cathedral to welcome the administrator of the Western European Diocese. Over 200 of the faithful partook of the Holy Mysteries.
In his sermon, Bishop Nicholas touched upon the importance of each Sunday of Great Lent, each of which is designed to strengthen our prayerful labors. The archpastor called on all to go to Holy Confession, to cleanse one’s soul, so that with a clear conscience one might worthily greet the Glorious Resurrection of Christ. After the services, interaction continued between the hierarch and parishioners of the cathedral in the parish library.
Translation by the Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese