JERUSALEM: 20 May 2024
On the anniversary of the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion, the Chiefs of the two Jerusalem Missions concelebrate Liturgy

On May 4/17, 2024, on the seventeenth anniversary of the restoration of full fraternal communion within the Local Russian Orthodox Church, the Chiefs of the two Russian Ecclesiastical Missions in Jerusalem, Archimandrite Vassian (Zmeev) of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission of the Moscow Patriarchate and Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), head of the Mission of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia with their clergy concelebrated Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Jerusalem. Archimandrite Vassian officiated, joined by 7 clergymen from the Moscow Patriarchate and 6 from the Church Abroad.

During the service, prayers were read for Holy Rus' and also for the “Prosperity of the Russian Orthodox Church” (thanksgiving for the unity of the Russian Church). Prayers for the blessed repose of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II and Metropolitan Laurus and all those who worked for the good of the reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church were intoned. A moleben of thanksgiving was served after liturgy.

Attending and praying at the service were Ambassador A.D. Viktorov, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Israel, with embassy staff. Abbess Ekaterina (Chernysheva), Abbess Elizabeth (Smelic) and Abbess Varvara (Novikova) with the sisters of the Gorny, Gethsemane and Mt of Olives Convents and Mother Maria (Wall) with the sisters of the Bethany Community also were present.

After the prayer service, Fr Vassian in his sermon pointed out how, by God’s providence, unity was achieved in the Russian Church before today’s growing evil attacks against the Orthodox Church with all the might of the world, trying to break its unity. Fr Roman, speaking the words “Christ is in our midst,” pointed out the importance of having God’s love among ourselves, for this is the only weapon against the enemies of the Church.

Ambassador Viktorov also congratulated everyone participating at the anniversary and drew attention to the fact that “the restoration of the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in 2007 was not just a reconciliation of believers, but an unprecedented example of overcoming a seemingly deep-rooted schism,” but has given rise to the development of cooperation between two Missions. The Ambassador also proposed readiness “to further build up a multifaceted partnership with both Missions in the interests of implementing Russia’s constant course of preserving and enhancing its spiritual and cultural presence in the Holy Land, protecting the interests of Christians and promoting the establishment of peace and stability in the Middle East region.”

Following, at the meal, it was learned that, although they were not acquaintances at the time, both Chiefs of the Missions, Fr Roman and Fr Vassian, took part in celebrations in Moscow in 2007, somehow foreshadowing today's celebration.

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