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SAN FRANCISCO: April 9, 2011
The Feast of the Annunciation at San Franiscos Cathedral of theMother of God Joy of All Who Sorrow

With the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, Divine Liturgy on the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary on April 7, 2011, was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland, Administrator of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America at the Cathedral of the Mother of God Joy of All Who Sorrow in San Francisco. He was joined in the service by Protopriest Peter Perekrestov and Protopriest Yaroslav Belikov, clergymen of the Cathedral, as well as Priest Sergei Kapitan.

At the end of the service, Vladyka Peter delivered a sermon in memory of Valery Alekhin, who suffered during a late-night fire on February 26. He had rushed to warn the sleeping residence of his apartment building of a fire, during which he suffered third-degree burns. Three days later Valery died of his injuries. Besides Fr Sergei, who had been with Valery in his last days, his mother Tatiana also attended the service and was addressed by Vladyka Peter. Tears were evident in the eyes of many worshipers present.

In his sermon, Vladyka recalled the words of Christ that there is no greater love than when a person lays down his life for his neighbor, and gave Tatiana an icon of Holy Martyr Valery, whose memory is marked among the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, which was celebrated only a few days after the premature death of Alekhin.

The Russian community of San Francisco made a collection to cover Valerys outstanding medical bills and funeral. Further details on this tragedy may be found at: http://www.racssf.org/

That evening, the Russian American Community Services held an event to benefit the Bestow Mercy project. In attendance were Bishop Peter; His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, Vicar of the Western American Diocese; Mr Vladimir Nikolaevich Vinokurov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco; clergymen and many guests. Bestow Mercy benefits the central Russian city of Novosibirsk, under the initiative of its St Alexander Nevsky Church. A teleconference was held with Novosibirsk, at which Protopriest Alexander Novopashin, the director of the project, discussed the charity work they do (see the above website for details). Tatiana Alekhina also participated in the event, during which Mr Vinokurov expressed the sympathies of everyone in attendance, and on behalf of Russia thanked the mother, who had raised her son in the spirit of Christian selflessness. Valery served as a brilliant example to everyone, and Vladimir Nikolaevich stated that he is proud that this hero was Russian.

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