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MOSCOW: February 8, 2010
Bishop Michael of Geneva Officiates at Divine Liturgy at St Nicholas Church in Moscow

This year, celebrations coincide of the Icon of the Mother of God “Soothe My Sorrows,” a miracle-working copy of which is located in the Church of St Nicholas in Kuznetskaya sloboda, Moscow, and the feast day of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. St Tikhon’s Orthodox University, home of St Nicholas Church, played an active role in the glorification of the New Martyrs.

His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe officiated at Divine Liturgy at St Nicholas Church. He was joined by the Parish Rector, Protopriest Vladimir Vorobiev, who is also Rector of the University, and the other clerics of St Nicholas Church.

After Liturgy a moleben was performed before the Icon of the Theotokos. Fr Vladimir addressed Vladyka Michael with gratitude: “There is nothing happenstance in life, including the fact that the Lord today allowed us to serve together,” he said. “For the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia were first glorified by our Church Abroad. During Soviet times, it was impossible to do so here, in Russia… The blood of the Martyrs gives life today to our Church and to our souls. And we are happy that you, Vladyka, are here with us today.”

Fr Vladimir then gave Bishop Michael a gift of a biography with photographs of Holy Patriarch Tikhon.

In response, Vladyka Michael recalled how important the podvig of the New Martyrs was for Russia, and for each Orthodox Christian. The New Martyrs accepted “the horrifying battle with the devil,” bathing the Russian Land with their blood, said the archpastor, and he wished for everyone the intercession of the Most-Holy Mother of God and of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.

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St Tikhon’s Orthodox University has established a database of “Those who suffered for Christ,” the largest of its kind today. It already lists over 30,000 names. Every year, the relatives of persecuted persons submit some two thousand previously-unknown martyrs, and this number is growing. In all, based on preliminary research by specialists of the University, no fewer than 500,000 people suffered for their faith in the 20th century.

Patriarchia.ru and en.pstgu.ru