On Sunday, October 26, His Grace Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, at the invitation of His Grace Bishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada, celebrated Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Bishop Hilarion was joined in the service by Protopriest Vladimir Malchenko, Rector of the Cathedral; and the Cathedral's Priest Viatcheslav Davidenko and Deacon Alexander Morin.
Fr Vladimir greeted Bishop Hilarion, delivering an inspired speech, in which he thanked God for the reestablishment of unity between the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Fatherland and the diaspora. He especially noted the fact that Vladyka Hilarion's visit to Holy Trinity Cathedral was a fruit of the blessed unity of the Russian Orthodox Church. Fr Vladimir asked the guest and all those present to pray for the Russian Orthodox people, for the entire Church, and to thank God for the opportunity to serve together and commune of one Chalice of Christ.
Fr Vladimir also thanked Bishop Hilarion for the joy that he provided to the people of God with his composition "The Passion According to Matthew." The world premier of this musical work in English took place in Toronto on Friday, October 24. According to Fr Vladimir, it brought the listeners' thoughts back to Passion Week. He was particularly impressed with the bass section, which sang of the repentance of Apostle Peter.
Divine Liturgy was especially prayerful and ceremonious. The church was filled to capacity with worshipers—among them many young people and children—who partook of the Holy Gifts of Christ. Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir, under the direction of George Anatolievich Skok, sang beautifully. By Divine Providence, even before the choir learned of the visit of Vladyka Hilarion, they began to rehearse several of his compositions for all-night vigil and Divine Liturgy. On this day, they sang his Dostoino Yest' [It is Fitting], Khvalite imya Gospodne [Praise the Name of the Lord] and Mnogoletiye [Many Years]. Vladyka Hilarion was moved by this, and praised the choir for their pious singing.
In his sermon, Vladyka Hilarion thanked God for the reestablishment of the fullness of brotherly unity within the Russian Orthodox Church, noting that the tragic division of the past sometimes affected family relationships, when parents would belong to one church, and their children to another.
After Liturgy, Fr Vladimir thanked Vladyka for the joy of joint service and noted that the main task of a bishop is to spread the Gospel of Christ to the people, and that Vladyka does so through performing divine services and preaching in church, and also through his great musical creation, "The Passion According to Matthew." This manner of spreading the Holy Gospel would reach not only the Russian Orthodox faithful but the peoples of the West as well. Afterwards, Many Years was sung to His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, His Grace Bishop Gabriel and Bishop Hilarion.
A trapeza luncheon was then offered at the parish hall to honor Vladyka Hilarion. The Rector once again expressed his joy and gratitude for their joint divine service, and invited Vladyka to address the parishioners. Bishop Hilarion told them about his diocese, his work, and spoke a few words about prayer. He drew attention to the point that prayer must never be mechanical, but must always be fervent and heartfelt. Those who wish to learn the art of prayer—emphasizing that prayer is an art form—should become acquainted with the book Dobrotoliubie [Philokalia].
During his speech, Vladyka discussed his Parish of St Nicholas in Vienna, that this was the most magnificent church of the Moscow Patriarchate outside of its canonical territory, and that the church underwent a recent renovation. Upon its completion, the church is expecting a visit this December by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy for its consecration. Vladyka invited everyone to attend this joyous event. Speaking of his diocese and of the Russian Church in general, Vladyka noted that despite what many people say—that we live in a post-Christian era—the Church in Russia and abroad is renewing itself and gaining strength. Not only is the number of churches growing, but, very importantly, the number of monasteries, which are being populated by young people seeking salvation and wish to serve God and the Church. Therefore, said Vladyka, we cannot call our epoch "post-Christian."
The young Fr Viatcheslav translated the sermon and speech into English for the non-Russian speaking parishioners, the number of which is growing as a result of the modernist tendencies of some Western confessions.
In his words of thanks to Vladyka, Fr Vladimir called the day's events "A Meeting with a Hierarch," and the parish gave the visiting bishop gifts in memory of the event, along with a bouquet of flowers.
Vladyka Hilarion then answered questions. His visit to Holy Trinity Cathedral ended with the singing of the Prayer of Gratitude.
Glory to God!