GERMAN DIOCESE: February 13, 2013
The Feast Day of Munichís Cathedral of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia
On Sunday, February 10, 2013, the feast day of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, the cathedral of the German Diocese in Munich held festive celebrations. All-night vigil was led by the cathedralís rector, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who was joined by His Grace Bishop Agapit of Stuttgart; Protopriest Nikolai Artemoff, Senior Priest of the cathedral; Priest Andre Berezovsky; Priest Alexei Lemmer; Deacon Johann Scherba and Deacon Mikhail Fastovsky. Vladyka Agapit emerged with the clergymen for the litiya. During the polyeleos, as the icon of the New Martyrs was brought out, the Magnification was sung, and both hierarchs prayed on the cathedra in the middle of the church.
On the feast day itself, divine services began with the greeting of Archbishop Mark, after which he was vested on the cathedra. The Ruling Bishop of ROCORís German Diocese was also joined by His Eminence Archbishop Feofan of Berlin and Germany of the Moscow Patriarchate; His Eminence Archbishop Alexander of Baku and Azerbaijan; Hegumen Mitrofan, who was accompanying Vladyka Alexander; Priest Valery Mikheev, Rector of the parish in Bavariaís Landshut, and the cathedralís own Protodeacon Georg Kobro. A great number of parishioners and worshipers from nearby cities prayed at the service. In his sermon, Archbishop Alexander shared his personal experiences with people who had suffered persecution in the 20th century. When still a young hieromonk, he was particularly affected with the inner joy of those who endured a great deal for their faith. After Divine Liturgy, a moleben was served to the Holy New Martyrs, after which Many Years was intoned to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of ROCOR, to the bishops and especially the cathedralís clergymen and parishioners.
Eternal Memory was then sung to the reposed clergymen and laity of the cathedral. For his earnest labors in the diocesan administration, Subdeacon Gregory Kobro was granted a decree of blessing from Archbishop Mark.
The cathedralís sisterhood then offered a trapeza luncheon, during which the hierarchs recalled moments from the lives of their dioceses. Of course, of special interest were Vladyka Alexanderís stories of his time spent in Chechnya in the 1990ís, as well as in Dagestan and Azerbaijan. Vladyka now heads only the Azerbaijan Diocese, where 95% of the population professes Islam. Relations with the government there are good. The area, known as the ďCaucasian Albania,Ē was illuminated with the light of Christ by Holy Apostle Bartholomew, and that is where he met his martyrdom. His relics were long ago moved to the West, so on the way to Munich, Vladyka Alexander visited the Catholic cathedral of Frankfurt am Main, where he and Archbishop Feofan were able to venerate a part of the head of St Bartholomew. This sparked lively discussion, since it was in Frankfurt that Vladyka Agapit himself was born, but also where Vladyka Mark and Fr Nikolai both studied. Vladyka Agapit noted the podvigi of the bishop from Azerbaijan, having made a long voyage to enrich everyone with his words and experiences, and sharing the Churchís joy.
During the trapeza, the cathedralís warden, VA Esikovsky, and the senior sister, AI Immler, congratulated Vladyka Mark on his recent birthday on behalf of all the parishioners and gave him a bouquet of flowers and a greeting card signed by all the clergymen and a great number of parishioners.
This year the celebration of the feast day of the Cathedral of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia is held on the same day by both parts of the Russian Church. The Council of Bishops this year deliberated on the difference in dates of marking the Host of New Martyrs by the two parts of the Russian Church and decided to designate it in the same manner as the date of the Ecumenical Councils is celebrated. This means that the New Martyrs are celebrated on the Sunday falling between January 22 and 28 (old style); that is, if January 25 falls on a Monday through Wednesday, the feast day is on the previous Sunday; if January 25 is Thursday, Friday or Saturday, then the holiday is marked on the following Sunday. This was the system adopted by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 1981 before the canonization of the New Martyrs by the part of the Russian Church outside of the Fatherland. It precludes conflict with the celebration of the Three Hierarchs, which falls on January 30. Celebrating both holidays on the same day would be very complicated in terms of the designated liturgical texts.
That evening, several parishioners once again erected the cathedralís scaffolding to continue work on the frescoes in the apse.