DIOCESE OF SOUTH AMERICA: October 30, 2008
On October 28, 2008, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul in Sao Paolo along with His Eminence Metropolitan Damascene of Sao Paolo and Brazil (Antiochian Patriarchate): His Eminence Metropolitan Platon of Argentina and South America: His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Khust and Vinogradovo: His Eminence Archbishop Pavel of Ryazan' and Kasimovsk: His Grace Bishop Evtikhii of Domodedovo, and His Grace Bishop John of Caracas. The Cathedral is the main church of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Brazil.
Present at the service was Consul General of the Russian Federation, AS Kapko, Consul General of Syria, Razi Dib, Consul General of Lebanon Joseph Sayakh; Consul General of Greece Eustaphios Paradelis, and a representative of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sao Paolo, Ambassador Remy de Oliveira. A multitude of parishioners prayed before the miracle-working "Reigning" Icon of the Mother of God., and communed of the Holy Gifts of Christ.
After Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion thanked the head of the Antiochian Patriarchate in Brazil, Metropolitan Damascene, for the opportunity to serve together. "In your person, we greet the ancient Apostolic Church of holy Antioch, which was established by the Chief Apostles Peter and Paul," said Vladyka Hilarion, stressing that the missionary traditions of Apostle Paul "live on in the Antiochian Church to this day."
The First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia greeted everyone who was able to attend on this weekday and partake of the Holy Mysteries.
Words of welcome were also expressed to "those who could not partake of Communion with everyone, because they did not yet accept the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church." "Church unity is pleasing to God, and there are no reasons to remain outside of the Church," His Eminence opined.
The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church then gave Metropolitan Damascene a copy of the Reigning Icon of the Mother of God.
Metropolitan Damascene called this joint celebration of Divine Liturgy a great event, and expressed his gratitude to Sretensky Monastery Choir of Moscow for their singing.
On behalf of his diocese, the hierarch welcomed the delegation, which arrived in Brazil to participate in the Days of Russian Spiritual Culture. In his words, the Russian State is one in which "one can see and sense real Christian faith." "The Russian Church spreads its spiritual presence and her strength of faith to all the ends of the earth. And we hope that this power will unite us all," said Metropolitan Damascene.
The construction of the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul began in 1934. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated in 1945. On Sundays, some 500 worshipers gather, here, while on Christmas and Pascha, some two thousand attend services.
That day, as part of the delegation's program in Brazil, at the request of Consul General Kapko, the headquarters of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Sao Paolo was blessed. The rite was performed by the Primate of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion. Metropolitan Platon, Archbishop Mark and Archbishop Pavel also prayed at the ceremony.
The festive blessing was attended by the Consul General and a great many Russian compatriots living in Brazil.
On October 29, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, along with Metropolitan Platon, Bishop Evtikhii and Bishop John, visited Protopriest George Petrenko, who later attended a concert given by Sretensky Choir.