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DIOCESE OF CHICAGO AND DETROIT: October 10, 2006
The First Hierarch Celebrates the Feast Day of St Sergius Cathedral

On October 8, 2006, the feast day of our God-bearing father, St Sergius, Hegumen of Radonezh, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus officiated at Divine Liturgy at St Sergius Cathedral in Cleveland, OH, together with His Grace Mitrophan, the local bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church; His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Detroit; and numersous other clergymen of the Church Abroad and of the Serbian Church. During the minor entrance, His Eminence awarded the mitre to Protopriest Peter Burlakov, for his many years of service as a clergyman of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

During the splendid trapeza offered by the parish sisterhood, Vladyka Peter thanked His Eminence Vladyka Laurus and Bishop Mitrophan, stressing the fraternal bonds which always existed between the Russian Church Abroad and the Serbian Orthodox Church. His Grace then spoke a few words about the recently-departed Metropolitan Vitaly and of the slain Serbian King Alexander, who had both done so much for Russian refugees, after which those in attendance (over 300 persons) all sang Memory Eternal. The Senior Priest of the Cathedral, Priest Ilia Marzev, then addressed the guests, saying in part:

"Your Eminence, Dear Vladyka!

"On behalf of the Parish of St Sergius Cathedral, and personally, I extend my heartfelt greeting to you. It is a great joy for us that today, our feast day, you have led us in common prayer. We are very grateful to you, dear Vladyka, for this honor that you have bestowed upon us by your visit for this Divine Liturgy.

"Our Cathedral Parish is closely following the process of reconciliation of the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church, and has welcomed the latest steps taken by the Synod of Bishops to overcome the division with spiritual joy. Sensing ourselves being part of the Russian Orthodox Church, we wholeheartedly support you in your efforts to heal the wounds of this division within our Mother, the Local Russian Church, and within the God-preserved Russian people. We believe in the 'One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church,' of which we intend to remain a grace-filled part. Today I wish to ensure you of our love and filial devotion to you and to our Hierarchy. We always served and will continue to serve God and the Russian Orthodox Church, abiding in full obedience to you and our Synod of Bishops.

"Thank you, Your Eminence, for the holy prayers which you raised today in our church and which warmed our hearts. We always pray for you, especially now, that the Lord grant you spiritual and physical strength to further serve Him, your flock abroad and all Orthodox Christians.

"Again, we thank you, Vladyka Metropolitan, for your visit, your attention, and your holy prayers, for your fatherly love and care for us."

After the trapeza, His Eminence, speaking a few words of guidance and of gratitude, headed for St Theodosius Church, where he venerated the icons and holy items there and met with the church rector.