WESTERN EUROPEAN DIOCESE: September 29, 2017
150th-Anniversary Celebrations at Elevation of the Holy Cross Cathedral in Geneva
The 150th anniversary of the founding of the Cathedral of the Elevation of the Holy Cross in Geneva, Switzerland, was celebrated on September 26-27, 2017. Tuesday’s all-night vigil included the Rite of the Elevation of the Holy Cross with the participation of 6 hierarchs: His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Vice President of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; His Eminence Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh; His Eminence Archbishop John of Harioupolis (Constantinople Patriarchate); His Grace Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuevsk of the Moscow Patriarchate; His Grace Bishop Nestor of Korsun and His Grace Bishop Antony of Zvenigorod, Vicar and Representative of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. Over 20 other clergymen from the parishes of the Western European Diocese were also in attendance as were other guests including Protopriest Vladimir Vorobiev, Rector of Moscow’s St Tikhon Humanitarian Orthodox University; Protopriest Michael Protopopov of Australia, as well as clerics from Russia, Belarus, Luxembourg, France and other regions of the world. Pokrov Choir from Moscow participated in the service.
After the great doxology, the Rite of the Elevation of the Cross was performed by Archbishop Mark.
The celebration continued with Divine Liturgy the next day, which included the great consecration of the altar table, attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Jeremiah of Switzerland; His Eminence Archbishop Job of Telmis (Constantinople Patriarchate); Bishop Charles Morerod of Fribourg, representing the Catholic Bishops’ Conference; Geneva city officials, among them Guy Mettan, members of the Russian Diplomatic Corps (Ambassador SV Garmonin from Bern and Alexey Borodavkin, Permanent Representative of Russian Federation to the United Nations Office at Geneva) along with a multitude of worshipers.
Archbishop Mark then delivered a thoughtful sermon on the feast day and about how each Orthodox Christian must bear his cross daily. His Eminence congratulated the worshipers and read an epistle from His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of ROCOR. His Eminence Archbishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe and his parishioners were recognized for their efforts in the restoration of the cathedral.
Divine services were followed by a festive luncheon organized to benefit the continuing renovations, at which the hierarchs and other officials offered congratulatory words. Archbishop Mark again addressed the parishioners, saying that they must hold themselves worthy of the magnificent cathedral and labor towards spiritual renewal. Bishop Antony then read a greeting from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who could not attend the celebrations, but who “in spirit joins them in Geneva, a city close to the heart of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, having served there as a young priest.”
Mr Borodavkin then spoke on behalf of the diplomatic corps, stressing the role of the Russian Orthodox Church, as the spirit of her people, in the formation of the history of the Fatherland. He wished many years of flourishing for the Orthodox community in Geneva. Mr Mettan, a socio-political activist gave a speech on the importance of the Russian Orthodox parish in the religious and cultural life of Geneva. Historian Galina Shevtsova delivered a lecture on the broad history of the parish and cathedral and their important figures.
A concert followed, performed by the cathedral choir, Pokrov Choir, a Serbian choir from Kosovo and other renowned musicians. Video was then shown on the 150 years of the cathedral prepared by its parishioner, cinematographer Stanislav Popovich and his wife Larisa, the choir director.