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DIOCESE OF GENEVA AND WESTERN EUROPE: July 19, 2007
Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe Visits Vityazi Camp

On July 1, 2007, at 5:30 pm, at the invitation of the head of the National Organization of Vityazi, leader of its Camp Department, Alexei Pavolovich Grigoriev, His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe visited Suvorov Camp in Laffre, near Grenoble, in the French Alps. All-night vigil and Divine Liturgy were scheduled for July 1 and 2 before a new icon of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, which was blessed on the tomb containing the saint's holy relics.

That morning, His Grace arrived from San Francisco, having served in the Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow,” which contains the relics of St John, and brought a portion of the relics for installation in the icon, which was done immediately upon its arrival.

The reliquary on the new icon of St John now contains a portion of the holy relics, a piece of his mantle, a small shard of the coffin and a portion of the vestments worn by St John in the crypt before his glorification.

During vigil and Liturgy, Bishop Michael was joined in service by Protopriest Michael Goudkoff (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia), Protopriest Nikolai Rebinder (Russian Exarchate of the Constantinople Patriarchate) and Hieromonk Nestor (Moscow Patriarchate), along with Protodeacon Peter Figurek of the Geneva Cathedral.

Some forty people attended the church, which included the preparatory committee which set up the tents and prepared the camp, scheduled for July and August.

The Vityazi men's choir sang magnificently under the direction of Matfei Malinin. Junior Instructor of the Vityazi, Konstantin Kirillovich Malinin, derived great spiritual pleasure from singing with his children. Later, along with Bishop Michael, who is himself an Instructor of the National Organization of Vityazi, they recalled the 1950's, when the first service of the Rite of the Triumph of Orthodoxy was performed in Paris by St John, having just arrived from Shanghai. The kliros was led that day by 15-year-old Kostya, and the Vityazi also sang then.

After Liturgy, a moleben was performed to St John and the Royal New Martyrs, whose icon was blessed for the camp chapel. A pannikhida was then served for all the reposed Vityazi and campers, and also for the founder of the NOV, Nikolai Feodorovich Fedorov.

The pouring rain that preceded the service was replaced with bright sunshine, and the campers took formation at the flagpole for morning reverie, which was performed by the trumpeter under the direction of the Instructor of the Camp Department. The flags were raised under the singing of the hymn of the Vityazi “We Are Vityazi of the Glorious Russia, we march for the Faith, for Rus…” A group photo was taken, after which everyone was invited to breakfast.