In January and February, 2008, His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Geneva and Western Europe made several trips to Russia.
On January 22-26, Vladyka Michael participated in the Winter Session of the 18th Theological Conference of the Orthodox St Tikhon Humanitarian University, and in particular its program "Practical Problems in the History of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 20 th Century."
From January 28-February 2, His Grace participated in the traditional 16 th Nativity Readings, where he spoke at the plenary session on "Paths of Divine Providence and the Patristic Legacy," and chaired the conference "Moscow—the Third Rome: Formula for Unity and Reconciliation."
Between the two conferences, Vladyka Michael traveled to St Petersburg, where, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of St Petersburg and Ladoga, he performed the sacrament of matrimony at Kazan Cathedral over his assistant at the Diocese of Geneva and Western Europe, Ivan Grezin, and Natalia Lavrentieva, a native of St Petersburg and an icon-painter. Vladyka was joined in the service by the Cathedral's Protodeacon Simeon Beletsky and Protopriest Michel Verna of the Church of St Barbara in Vevey, Switzerland.
In early February, His Grace visited Belgium and France.
On February 10, on the day of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Bishop Michael celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Memorial Church of St Job the Much-suffering in Brussels, Belgium. On the eve of the holiday, His Grace served all-night vigil. Vladyka was joined by Priest Eugene Sapronov, Deacon Basil Orechoff and Deacon George Mashtaler. The parish choir sang magnificently under the direction of Yaroslav Oreshuk. After Liturgy, the Sisterhood invited Vladyka to a festive trapeza.
On February 11, Bishop Michael once again visited Moscow in order to participate in a meeting of the Organizing Committee (of which he is a member) overseeing the restoration of the monument to Russian people who died in the Gallipoli camp of the Russian Army in 1920-21. At this meeting, it was decided to hold the ceremonial unveiling of the monument on May 17, 2008.
On February 12, the feast day of the Three Hierarchs, Vladyka Michael concelebrated at Divine Liturgy at the church dedicated to these saints of the Korsun Diocese of the Moscow Patriarchate along with His Eminence Archbishop Innokenty of Korsun.
On February 14-15, the Meeting of the Lord, Bishop Michael officiated at services at the Church of the Resurrection of Christ in Medon of the Russian Church Abroad. Vladyka was joined in the service by Protopriest Michael Gudkoff, the church Rector.
On the feast day itself, Vladyka Michael met with the Medon parishioners, as is his custom during his visits. Some twenty people were in attendance, and the following topics were discussed:
On February 16, the Tchaikovsky Choir in Paris marked its 40 th anniversary. Bishop Michael, one of the founders of the group, served a pannikhida for the reposed singers of the choir.
On Saturday and Sunday, February 16-17, the Week of the Tax-collector and Pharisee, Bishop Michael once again served in Medon. During Divine Liturgy, Vladyka was joined in concelebration by Fr Michael and Deacon George. During the reading of the hours, Reader Alexander Boldyrev was ordained as a subdeacon. We wish the servant of God Subdeacon Alexander many joyous years of service!
After Liturgy, the annual Medon blini were served by the parish, attended by several hundred parishioners and visitors. The parishioners imparted a great deal of effort in making the meal delicious, and the atmosphere festive. Afterwards, there was a concert in a nearby hall. His Grace greeted the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Medon, who graced the event with their attendance. The celebrations lasted until dark, and everyone left sated and satisfied. We congratulate the organizers of this event on its great success and thank everyone, especially Nina Julien and Olga Andreoli for their efforts in organizing the celebration.
From February 21-29, Vladyka Michael was in Russia as a member of the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
On March 5, 2008, His Beatitude Metropolitan Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia visited the Geneva Cathedral.