WESTERN EUROPEAN DIOCESE: July 24, 2018
Youth from two dioceses of the Russian Church Abroad travel the Suvorov crossing
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Administrator of the Western European Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the traditional meeting of Orthodox youth from the German and Western European Dioceses gathered at the St Gotthard Pass in the Alps on July 21-22, 2018.
The annual meetings mark the brilliant feat of General Suvorov’s “wondrous giants,” when young people travel through several dozen kilometers of mountain roads, crossed in 1799 by Russian soldiers under the direction of General Alexander Suvorov. This year, over 70 people from Switzerland, France and Germany participated. The Swiss delegation came from an Orthodox summer camp in Lausanne, Vaud Canton, headed by Protopriest Emilian Pocinoc, Secretary of the Western European Diocese, who has organized the event for several years now.
On Saturday afternoon, July 21, the youth walked from Airolo to St Gotthard Pass. A conference was held at a local hotel that evening, with lectures on the feats performed by the Russian soldier and the Christian moral values of Generalissimos Alexander Vasilievich Suvorov. Old Russian military songs were then sung.
Early Sunday morning, the youth gathered at the peak of St Gotthard in an old chapel built by Suvorov and dedicated to the Holy Cross of the Lord, to participate in Divine Liturgy headed by Fr Emilian. Afterwards, the young people walked some 10 km towards Andermatt, where they visited sites related to the Battle of the Devil’s Bridge, including the Russian field headquarters, which now contains a museum devoted to Suvorov, and other interesting sites. A panikhida was performed at the site of one of the most remarkable battles, where a memorial cross to Suvorov now stands. The young delegates prayed “for those who lay down their lives for faith, for God and for the Fatherland.” A moleben of gratitude was then performed for the safe conclusion of the event. The youth made new friends during the event, and lingered long after it was over, promising to participate in next year’s event.
The German youth then departed for Munich, and Fr Emilian led his group back to Lausanne, where their Orthodox camp will continue for the week following.