GENEVA: June 11, 2009
Delegates of the Russian Orthodox Church to the 4th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference Visit Elevation of the Holy Cross Cathedral
On June 10, 2009, at the invitation of His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe, His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate, performed a moleben at Elevation of the Holy Cross Cathedral in Geneva. Praying at the service were His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasime of Zugdidi and Tsaishi (Georgian Orthodox Church) and His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany. The archpastors were greeted upon their arrival by the peal of bells at the Russian church, which was consecrated in 1866.
Vladyka Hilarion was joined in service by Protopriest Pavel Tsvetkoff; Protopresbyter George Zviadadze (Georgian Orthodox Church); Protopriest Nikolai Balashov, Vice Chairman of the DECR; Protopriest Mikhail Gundyaev, Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the World Council of Churches; and Priest Adrian Echevarria.
The clerics prayed for success for the 4th Pan-Orthodox Pre-Council Conference, which is convening in Chambesy, near Geneva.
In his sermon at the end of the moleben, Archbishop Hilarion noted the spiritual importance of the reestablishment in 2007 of unity between the Russian Church Abroad and the Church in the Fatherland, saying that he experiences joy whenever he is given the opportunity to perform divine services in the historic centers of the Russian diaspora. Vladyka Hilarion thanked Vladyka Mark, Fr Pavel and everyone who, through their prayers and efforts, hastened the historic reunification.
Addressing Metropolitan Gerasime, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Hilarion stressed the special spiritual meaning of unity and of prayerful communion between the Russian and Georgian Orthodox Churches in this time of complicated inter-governmental relations between Russia and Georgia.
In his response, Metropolitan Gerasime said that he was felt joy over their joint prayer in this Russian church in Switzerland. The Georgian hierarch pointed out that church communion remains the main factor in preserving friendly relations between the peoples of Russia and Georgia. Vladyka expressed his hope the inter-church relations would continue to develop in the spirit of undying brotherhood and trust.
Press Service of the DECR