WESTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE: August 26, 2013
Orthodox Christians Respond to an LGBT Protest With Joint Prayer of Clergy and Laity of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and the Russian Church Abroad
Clergymen and laity of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia responded to an LGBT protest with joint prayers.
On Sunday, August 25, 2013, a protest was held before St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in San Francisco, CA, by local LGBT members against legislation passed in Russia last June banning the propagandizing of homosexuality to children. The day before, blogs on the internet called for supporters of the LGBT community to gather at San Francisco’s Patriarchal cathedral during Divine Liturgy with anti-Orthodox and anti-Russian placards.
With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, clergymen Protopriest Georgy Roshchin, Representative of the International Russian People’s Council to the United Nations, and Hegumen Nikodim (Balyasnikov), both of St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City, traveled to San Francisco to support the local parishioners.
On August 25, Archbishop Justinian spoke via telephone to His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America of ROCOR. The archpastors discussed the unfolding situation, after which they came to the decision to hold joint prayers the next day in the Patriarchal cathedral. Priest Leonid Kazakov, Rector of St Nicholas Cathedral, gave advance notice to the planned action to the local police and to Mr Sergei Petrov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco.
On the morning of August 25, Archbishop Kyrill and His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, Vicar Bishop of the Western American Diocese, arrived for the beginning of Divine Liturgy, where they prayed and partook of the Holy Gifts of Christ. For the edification of the worshipers, the archpastors brought with them a reliquary with portions of the relics of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco from the Cathedral of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” in San Francisco.
Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Fr Leonid and Hegumen Nikodim. Praying at the service were parishioners of St Nicholas and laity of ROCOR.
After partaking of the Holy Gifts, Archbishop Kyrill and Bishop Theodosius performed a moleben with the other clergymen, during which litanies and supplications from the rite of the Triumph of Orthodoxy were intoned.
Bishop Theodosius then read a sermon. Fr Leonid welcomed the archpastors on behalf of his parishioners, thanking them for their prayerful support and words of guidance. Protopriest Georgy and Hegumen Nikodim then thanked the hierarchs on behalf of Archbishop Justinian.
By Divine mercy, neither the cathedral nor any parishioners suffered any violence from the protesters. Member of the police secured the protest area and did not permit the breaking of any laws. The clergy and parishioners of St Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral of San Francisco expressed thanks to Archbishop Justinian and Archbishop Kyrill, Bishop Theodosius, the clergymen from New York’s St Nicholas Cathedral, as well as all the other clergymen and laypersons who supported them that day.