The year 2019 marks the 125th anniversary of the Russian parish of the Holy Archangel Michael in Cannes, France, one that has a rich history—and a questionable fate.
Joining the jubilee celebrations on November 20 was His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan. Upon arriving to the municipally-owned church of St. Roch, rented by the ROCOR parish, Bishop Nicholas led the All-Night Vigil, joined by parish clerics: rector Priest Antony Odaisky and Priest Mark Lopnevs, as well as Archpriest Peter Holodny from Moscow and Priest Eugene Nikitin of Our Lady "Joy of All Who Sorrow" Church in Menton, France.
On the feast day itself, Thursday, November 21, Priest Gontrane Poussou of the French-language parish in neighboring Grasse, and Protodeacon Ioan Buzdugan from St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nice arrived for Liturgy. Despite its being a work-day, there were a large number of worshippers present.
The following day, Bishop Nicholas visited the ancient Lerins Abbey on Île Saint-Honorat off the coast of Cannes, where he venerated the relics of the Holy Hierarch Honoratus and read an akathist to him. He was given an excursion through the monastery and viewed Holy Trinity Church, which is offered to the Russian Orthodox community for services on the Sunday of Orthodoxy.
That same day, a concert was given at St. Roch Church by the Jerusalem Vocal Ensemble under the direction of the parish’s Anna Kobrina, who has been organizing a series of concerts in this jubilee year. The events draw the interest of the French populace, who thereby learn about Orthodoxy and are offered the opportunity to find answers to their spiritual questions in talks with the clergymen as they enjoy post-concert refreshments. This time, they were able to talk to a hierarch, as well.
On Sunday, a second hierarchal Liturgy was celebrated at the church, after which the parish school children gave a hand-crafted gift to Bishop Nicholas as a memento.
A large luncheon was then offered for all, featuring dishes of various national cuisines prepared by parishioners.
On Monday, November 25, Bishop Nicholas departed home to New York.
Priest Antony Odaisky