His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Officates at Celebrations on the Namesday of His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland

On February 6, the feast day of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus officiated at Divine Liturgy at St Sergius Cathedral in Cleveland, along with Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney and the Australian and New Zealand Diocese and Bishop Peter of Cleveland. Among those serving were Protopriest Peter Burlakov, Archimandrite Daniel from Indonesia (whom Archbishop Hilarion received under his omophorion from the Patriarchate of Constantinople), Priest Andre Papkov, Priest Theodor Jurewicz, Priest Victor Boldewskul, Priest James Rohrer and Protodeacon Victor Lochmatov. During the minor entrance, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus awarded Priest James the kamilavka. His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion delivered a sermon on the topic of the feast day. After the service, Priest Victor Boldewskul, the Senior Priest of the Cathedral, read the following address:

"Your Grace, Vladyka Peter!

The clergy and flock of Your Grace's St Sergius Cathedral in Cleveland greet you on your namesday, when we honor the memory of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, among whom your heavenly intercessor, Holy New Martyr Metropolitan Peter of Krutitsk takes such a glorious place.

It is a great joy for us that for today's celebration we are honored by the presence of our deeply-revered First Hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, and also by His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney and the Australian and New Zealand Diocese.

Over the last few years in the life of our Church Abroad, one sees many reasons for hope. The first official archpastoral visit by a representative of our Church to the Russian land, in which Archbishop Hilarion participated, cleared the path for the historic pilgrimage to Russia of Metropolitan Laurus. This latter trip then opened the way for a healthy, constructive and spiritually-beneficial dialog between the two parts of the one Russian Church, which was divided by external means by the horrors of the last century.

We know that the evil one will spare no efforts to hinder the healing of church divisions that we all desire so, and we must be prepared for this. But our hearts must not be troubled. We firmly believe that through the prayers of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, and those of our heavenly intercessor, the hegumen of the Russian Land, St Sergius of Radonezh, the Lord will relieve the abuse of His servants, and that we will not only be able to venerate the holy relics in Russia, but to commune of the Body and Blood of Christ in our native land, which was soaked with the blood of the New Martyrs.

Today we greet you, dear Vladyka Peter, our Bishop of Cleveland. We are thankful to the Lord that in your person we have an archpastor who stands firmly in the truth, walks upon the royal, middle path, and does not stray into one extreme or another. Your devotion to our Church is known to all ever since you served under St John, and over the course of many years benefited from his example: "by word, by life, by love, spirit, faith and chastity." We rejoice that you support His Eminence our First Hierarch in this holy task of making peace within the Church of Russia. Under your wise, calm leadership, our diocesan life is developing and blossoming. We constantly sense your archpastoral care for us, which warms our hearts and consoles us. May God grant you health and strength for many years to continue your archpastoral service. Eis polla eti despota!"

Then, Protodeacon Victor intoned Many Years for the day's namesday celebrants, His Grace Bishop Alexander of Buenos Aires and South America, His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland and His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan, who celebrated his namesday at the Synodal Cathedral in New York.

At the end of the divine service, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, the bishops, clergy and multitude of parishioners and worshipers continued their celebration at a warm and congenial trapeza feast.