WESTERN EUROPEAN DIOCESE: 20 December 2023
Feast-day celebrations at the Church of Great Martyr Barbara in Switzerland
The feast day of the Parish of St Barbara the Great-Martyr in Vevey, Switzerland, was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe along with His Grace Bishop Alexander of Vevey in the historic church that sits at the foot of the Swiss Alps. Joining the hierarchs were the local clergy, Priest Aviv Saliou-Diallo and Protodeacon Michel Vernaz, together with a gathering of clergy from nearby regions who came to the Vevey temple for the occasion of feast: Archpriest Pavel Tzvetkoff and Archdeacon Dometian (Redko) of the Geneva Cathedral; Hieromonk Innokenty of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church; Archimandrite Martin (de Calfish) and Priest Dimitri of the Monastery of Dompierre of the Korsun Diocese.
Following the piously-sung vigil of the Feast on Saturday evening, at which Vladyka Alexander was met at the entrance, Divine Liturgy combined the Sunday celebration of the Resurrection with the sacred memory of the Parish’s heavenly patroness. Vladyka Irenei was met by the warden of the parish, Michael Aymon, and was joined by Vladyka Alexander on the cathedra for the liturgical service.
At the minor entrance, the local Priest Aviv Saliou-Diallo was awarded the right to wear the purple skufia, in light of the fourth year of his priestly service.
At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy, Bishop Alexander delivered a homily on the life of St Barbara and her example for all pious Christians, who behold the glory of God in His creation and are drawn to His love. A procession of the cross was then made around the temple, with the Holy Gospel read before the tomb of the ever-memorable Bishop Ambrose of Geneva and Western Europe, who had previously been Bishop of Vevey and is especially warmly remembered by the local faithful. The Divine Services were concluded with a moleben before the icon of St Barbara containing a portion of her precious relics, which were then venerated by all the gathered faithful.
Bishop Irenei congratulated Vladyka Alexander, the clergy and the faithful with the joy of the Resurrection and of the patronal feast day, and expressed his joy in sharing the happiness of the parish’s “second Pascha.” A banquet then followed in the hall beneath the Church, at which the bishops, clergy and parishioners remained for many hours, communicating in the joy of the feast.