The feast day of the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross in Geneva

The feast of the universal Exaltation of the Cross of Christ, the feast day of the Geneva Cathedral, has been solemnly celebrated during these holy days.

Vigil and Divine Liturgy of the feast were celebrated by the Ruling Bishop of the Diocese, His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe, together with his Vicar, His Grace Bishop Alexander of Vevey. Co-serving the Hierarchs were the senior cleric of the Diocese, Archpriest Pavel Tzvetkoff, Archpriest Emilien Pocinoc, and several diocesan clergy from nearby parishes - Archpriest Peter Sturm, Priest Aviv Saliou-Diallo, Priest Vladimir Svystun and Protodeacon Michel Vernaz - together with a close friend of the parish, Archpriest Michael Gundyaev, rector of the Moscow Patriarchal parish in Geneva.

At the conclusion of the Great Doxology of the vigil, Bishop Irenei performed the Rite of the Elevation of the Cross - a special service for the feast, served only in major cathedrals by a Bishop. The precious Cross of Christ, having been solemnly borne into the center of the temple and adorned with beautiful flowers, was, five times, slowly lowered to the earth and then raised high above the heads of all by the Hierarch, as the choir sang "Lord, have mercy" 100 times for each for the five elevations. Throughout, rose-water was poured by the priests upon the Cross in the Bishop’s hands, symbolising the life that flows from the Cross of the Saviour - and this water fell upon flowers that were later distributed to the faithful.

This unique rite, done in memorial of the lifting up of the Precious Cross upon its discovery by the Empress St Helena in the fourth century, holds a special place in the hearts of the Geneva faithful, since, the Cathedral being dedicated to this feast, it is one of the few places where the full rite of Elevation is routinely performed.

At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Vladyka Irenei greeted the clergy and faithful with a homily on the power of the Cross in the lives of all Christians. His Grace was welcomed by the local clergy, and proceeded to share a few impressions of the recent Council of Bishops in which he and Vladyka Alexander had both taken part, before the people came forward to venerate the Cross.

A meal of traditional Genevan hospitality followed the feast. Bishop Irenei remained throughout the day, meeting with several clergy and faithful, as well as with the council of the Cathedral Foundation, before departing for the airport in the evening.



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