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Sremski Karlovci: On 7th Sunday of Pascha, ROCOR First Hierarch celebrates Liturgy at St Nicholas Cathedral

On Saturday, June 15, members of the Synodal delegation of the Russian Church Abroad, headed by Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America & New York, prayed at Divine Liturgy in the home church of the Patriarchal Palace in Sremski Karlovci, Serbia, where His Beatitude Anthony (Khrapovitsky), Metropolitan of Kiev & Galicia, the first First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, once loved to pray.

The service was led by Bishop Nektarije of Britain & Ireland. At the end of the service, the members of the delegation proceeded to the chambers of Metropolitan Anthony of blessed memory and lifted up a prayer for the departed, after which Metropolitan Nicholas greeted His Grace Bishop Vasilije of Srem and presented him with a jubilee cross and panagia, issued for the centennial of the Russian Church Abroad and the 725th anniversary of the appearance of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God.

Then the members of the delegation visited Novi Sad and the monasteries of the Diocese of Bačka: Kać and Kovilj. Here they were warmly received by the renowned Bishop Irinej of Bačka, with his brethren and sisters. At the end of the service at Kovilj Monastery, His Eminence presented Bishop Irenej with a jubilee cross and panagia and several books published by the Russian Church Abroad for its centennial.

The following morning, the 7th Sunday of Holy Pascha, His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas, officiated Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral, co-served by Metropolitan Mark of Berlin & Germany, Archbishops Gabriel of Montreal & Canada and Peter of Chicago & Mid-America; Bishops Vasilije of Srem and Nektarije of Britain & Ireland, members of the delegation of the Russian Church Abroad, and local clergy.

Upon completion of Liturgy, Bishop Vasilije spoke several warm words about the Kursk Root Icon, which a multitude of parishioners had venerated that day, and about the Russian Church Abroad and her most rich history, after which he bestowed upon Metropolitan Nicholas the Order of St. Arsenije, a portion of whose relics abide in the cathedral. His Eminence then delivered the following words of greeting:

"Your Grace, Dear Vladyka!

"First of all, on behalf of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad, those traveling with me, and from the depths of my heart, I express to you, dear Bishop Vasilije, my heartfelt gratitude for your invitation and joint prayer to our One God and Lord Jesus Christ, which we have shared here, mysteriously uniting with Him. By our joint celebration of the Eucharist, we have testified that we are one body, one spirit, one Church, and that with us and in us is one Christ, our God (I Cor. 12:12,20; Eph. 4:4).

"Now, when the entire Orthodox world continues to celebrate the world-saving event – the Ascension of the Lord, when both our human nature and our human flesh have entered into the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we thank God that we have the good fortune to pray here in Sremski Karlovci! We rejoice that the presence of the faithful venerating the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign" in these days facilitates our prayerful boldness, and we firmly hope that the humble, hardworking, and noble Serbian people, bound to us by heartfelt ties, through the prayers of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, will be worthy of God’s blessing and His all-active grace.

"May our prayer be aflame during these days of the visit in Serbia of the miraculous icon, before which Venerable Seraphim of Sarov was healed as a youth – may the Mother of God show the path of salvation and the development of his native land, may she give protection to the Faith and the Church and to the entire land of Serbia, and may she bestow her grace upon the heart of the people ‒ Kosovo and Metohija.

"The spiritual ties between the Serbian Church and the Russian Church Abroad are unbreakable. When the Russian refugees – archpastors, pastors, monastics. and laity, headed by Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), respected throughout the Orthodox world, found themselves deprived of their homeland, it was the Serbian Orthodox Church that understood their zealous desire not to join the existing Local Churches, but to preserve their prayerful ties with the persecuted Church in Russia and her heritage abroad.

"The Serbian people, having shown our predecessors true fraternal protection and warm hospitality, gave them the opportunity to bear loud witness to the sufferings of the Church of the Fatherland, to her many martyrs and confessors. In the embrace of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Russian émigrés, comforted by love and care, felt themselves at home, and as a result of this incredible mercy, we now have common fathers, mentors, and Heavenly patrons.

"I believe that they feel our love and gratitude for their spiritual feats and rejoice in our current prayerful and brotherly communion. Our reverent veneration for them and the common good that they brought are the best monument to our predecessors and a faithful testimony to the spiritual kinship of our Churches. May this friendship and communication be strengthened more and more on the basis of our common history.

"As a sign of our gratitude and in memory of today’s historic event, we ask you to accept this gift – the icon of the Holy Hierarch John, Archbishop of Shanghai & San Francisco, the Wonderworker, with a prayer that he may protect the archpastors, pastors, and all the pious Serbian people. Amen."

That evening, members of the delegation visited the sights of Sremski Karlovci and local monasteries under the omophorion of Bishop Vasilije.


Sremski Karlovci: On 7th Sunday of Pascha, ROCOR First Hierarch celebrates Liturgy at St Nicholas Cathedral - 06/16/24

Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese -  G. Konyev

(25 images)

Kursk Root Icon



Eastern American Diocese | Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia