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NEW YORK: June 22, 2012
The Russian Church Abroad Will Mark the 75th Anniversary of the Repose of His Holiness Patriarch Varnava of Serbia

From the Editors: Below is a circular ukase issued by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York to all the ruling bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

Your Eminences, Your Graces:

July 10/23, 2012, the feast day of St Anthony, Miracle-worker of the Kievan Caves, will be the 75th anniversary of Patriarch Varnava of Serbia of blessed memory, a giant in spirit and a great friend of the Russian people.

His Holiness Patriarch Varnava received his theological training in Russia, where he befriended many great hierarchs of the Russian Church of the 20th century, who later became Holy New Martyrs. Here he came to know Blessed Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky, +1936), who headed the Council of Bishops Abroad. His four-year sojourn in Russia, during which he did not leave the country once, made a deep impression on the sensitive soul of the future patriarch. The beauty and splendor of Russian divine services and all their ecclesiastical rites remained forever in his soul, and wherever he found himself--as a bishop, a metropolitan and then patriarch--the future Serbian archpastor introduced the Russian tradition into divine services. Gentle, hospitable Russia became for him a second homeland. During his 4th year at St Petersburg Theological Academy, Petr Rosic (the name of Patriarch Varnava as a layman), was tonsured to the monkhood with the name Varnava, which in translation means the "son of consolation." The young monk earned his name in the future as a great man of mercy. In 1930, Metropolitan Varnava of Skopl was elected Patriarch of Serbia. During the seven years of his patriarchal service, he introduced new laws and rites for the Serbian Church. Church life acquired a rhythm. Strong young cadres of theologians arose. An enormous patriarchal house was built. The capital was adorned with new churches. Attendance at the capital's churches increased many-fold. Everywhere, magnificent choirs were formed. Fervent work on the Christian life was performed. When His Holiness Patriarch Varnava, protector and benefactor of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, died in 1937, the entire Russian emigre community experienced deep sorrow, expressing it in tears and fervent prayers at all funerary services.

In accordance with a decision by the Synod of Bishops of Thursday, June 1/14, 2012, all churches of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia are to mark this important date by raising prayers for the repose of His Holiness Patriarch Varnava of Serbia on Sunday, July 22, preceding this with a sermon on his life, service and legacy, about his help to the hierarchs, clergymen and laity of the Russian Church Abroad and the entire Russian emigration in the difficult years of exile.

With love in the Lord and a plea for your holy prayers,

+ HILARION,

Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.