ODESSA: February 6, 2017
Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan Participates in the Namesday Celebrations of Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and Izmailsk
On February 5, 2017, the feast day of St Agathangel the Martyr, His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel of Odessa and Izmailsk celebrated Divine Liturgy in Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral in Odessa, Ukraine, along with other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, as well as His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Deputy Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and monastics from Holy Mt Athos and the Romanian Orthodox Church.
The cathedral, dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior, is hosting a visiting reliquary of Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon.
After Liturgy, a moleben was performed in honor of Martyr Agathangel, after which namesday congratulations were read to Metropolitan Agafangel. In response, Vladyka Agafangel thanked all in attendance, stressing that “one’s namesday is a secondary Paschal feast, which gathered us all at this cathedral today, which has become the spiritual center of Odessa. By Divine mercy,
representatives of other churches have joined us in prayer today from all over the world: from Mt Athos, Romania, Moldova and even the United States. This speaks of the canonical unity of our Orthodox Church, the purity of our faith and union in Christ, Who is Light and Peace personified. And we fervently pray today for peace in Ukraine, for the end of strife and hatred, for the victory of Light over darkness. Our nation needs this, for we are tormented with bloodletting in the East, and by the continuing political and economic crises.
“St Agathangel prayed for us, too, whose memory we honor with radiance today, and Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, whose honorable relics are visiting us from Mt Athos today, as well as the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors who suffered for Christ a century ago.
As did the martyrs of the first centuries, the New Martyrs did not deny Christ, they took up their cross and ascended their own Golgotha. As we ponder their spiritual feats, let us not fear difficulties, let us not deny the Orthodox faith, and preserve church unity.
“I wish everyone health, salvation and Divine aid. Let those whose memory we honor today serve as an example for us, and, as we emulate them, let us not falter, let your spirits burn as you serve the Lord.”