Visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus to the Parishes of Brazil and Chile


On Saturday, November 20, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Laurus, arrived in Sao Paolo with the Miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, the Protectress of the Russian diaspora.

Metropolitan Laurus was to visit the South American Diocese along with His Grace Bishop Alexander, its ruling bishop. Unfortunately, it was recently learned that Vladyka Alexander was too ill to travel to South America, and instead went to San Francisco in order to receive the rite of holy unction at the crypt of St John of Shanghai (Maximovich, +1966).

At the airport, His Eminence was greeted by a group of clergymen. Everyone headed for the oldest Russian Orthodox church in Brazil—the Church of the Most-Holy Trinity, where Vladyka Laurus was greeted by the ringing of bells and the traditional bread and salt. The rector of the church, Protopriest George Petrenko, officiated at a moleben in a church full of worshipers before the miraculous Icon, raising thanks to God for His Eminence's safe voyage.

After a brief rest, all-night vigil began. The choir, under the direction of Elena Georgievna Petrenko, sang beautifully, The polyeleos was led by the First Hierarch himself. The magnification of the Mother of God, Archangel Michael and the other Heavenly Bodiless Powers was splendidly conducted.

On Sunday, November 21, in an overfilled church, the First Hierarch officiated at divine liturgy. The son of the rector, Priest Vladimir Petrenko, canceled the service in his Church of St Sergius of Radonezh, where he is rector, in order to attend the hierarchal service. Among the worshipers there were a number of native Brazilians who had converted to Orthodoxy. For this reason, His Eminence's sermon was concurrently translated into Portuguese.

At the end of liturgy, a moleben to the Most-Holy Mother of God and Archangel Michael was served. Priest Contantino Bussyguin arrived in time for the moleben. It was heartwarming to see all the priests of Sao Paolo: Protopriest George Petrenko, Priest Constantino Bussyguin, Priest Vladimir Petrenko and the archpastor who ordained them.

After liturgy, all the worshipers were invited to the large parish hall, where the sisterhood prepared a magnificent trapeza feast. At the end, Vladyka Laurus, at the request of the parishioners, briefly talked about his official trip to Moscow and of the results of the meetings with representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate. The talk was listened to attentively, after which questions were posed. Many parishioners are worried about the possibility of communion with the Moscow Patriarchate, since the effects of ecumenism are still fresh. Vladyka explained that this matter is still not resolved, and that if it is not resolved in a satisfactory manner in the spirit of the principles of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, then there will be no communion with the Moscow Patriarchate. We hope, as all the hierarchs and fathers of the Church Abroad have always hoped and prayed, that after the fall of militantly-atheist bolshevism, we could once again heal the wounds of the Russian church, without ignoring at the same time those canonical principles concerning joint ecumenical prayers with the heterodox.

On Tuesday, November 23, Metropolitan Laurus served all-night vigil at the Church of St Sergius of Radonezh, whose rector is Priest Vladimir Petrenko.

On the feast day of the Iveron-Montreal Icon of the Mother of God, the First Hierarch officiated at liturgy. After the lunch offered at the parish hall, Metropolitan Laurus met with the three parish rectors of Sao Paolo for a discussion.

Then, Priest Konstantin Bussygin and Protopriest Yaroslav Belikow took the Protectress of the Russian diaspora to the nursing home ministered by Fr Constantino. The home is in magnificent condition. Its residents were spiritually consoled by their prayers before the miracle-working Icon.

That evening, an akathist to the Mother of God in Holy Trinity Church was held, with a service of supplication and for those who travel. The Metropolitan thanked the clergy and worshipers for their spiritual support and warm reception, and also asked that they pray for the Church, for himself and for the entire flock.

On Thursday, November 25, Metropolitan Laurus departed from Chile. That day he arrived in the Chilean capital, Santiago, along with the Kursk-Root Icon. The delegation was met by Archimandrite Benjamin and Priest Alexei Vilugron. There is only one parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in Santiago, that of the Most-Holy Trinity, and also a convent on the picturesque eastern side of the city, with a small orphanage for girls. Vladyka, along with the clergy accompanying him, were provided accommodations at the orphanage.

That evening, Vladyka Metropolitan went to Santiago to meet with a group of Chileans studying theology with Priest Alexei Vilugron. First, His Eminence visited a nursing home, also located near Holy Trinity Church, and consoled its residents with prayers before the miraculous Icon.

Then Vladyka went to the parish hall. Some in the audience were Catholics who were profoundly interested in Orthodoxy. His Eminence told those in attendance about the history of the Icon. Protopriest Yaroslav Belikow translated. The Chileans saw the First Hierarch for the first time, and posed a wide variety of questions. They thanked him graciously for not forgetting such remote corners of the Russian Orthodox diaspora.

After the meeting, Fr Alexei spoke to Metropolitan Laurus at length on the possibilities of nurturing Orthodoxy in this southern land.

On Friday, November 26, the First Hierarch traveled to the Russian cemetery on the southern outskirts of Santiago, where he served a pannikhida at the grave of His Eminence Archbishop Leontii (Filipiev, +1971), a long-time servant in the spiritual harvest-fields of Chile.

That evening, a moleben and akathist were served before the Kursk-Root Icon.

Early morning on November 27, His Eminence departed for the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires.

Protopriest Yaroslav Beliko, clergyman of the Cathedral of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow" in San Francisco.