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WESTERN EUROPEAN DIOCESE: November 6, 2018
Protopriest Pavel Tsvetkoff visits the Church of the Nativity of Christ and St Nicholas in Florence, Italy

Protopriest Pavel Tsvetkoff visited the Church of the Nativity of Christ and St Nicholas in Florence, Italy, where he read an epistle from His Grace Bishop Irenei of Richmond and Western Europe to the parish.

With the blessing of Vladyka Irenei, Fr Pavel and Archdeacon Dometian (Redko) visited the parish, which had recently joined the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

Representing the hierarcy of ROCOR, Protopriest Pavel officiated at divine services in this oldest Russian church in Italy, along with its rector, Protopriest Georgy Blatinsky and other clergymen. The Sunday services was overfilled with worshipers, who are happy to have become a parish of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Fr Pavel read Bishop Irenei’s epistle and the ukases on the reception of the Florence parish into the Western European Diocese of ROCOR.

To the Faithful of Florence:

It is with heartfelt love that I greet you all on this feast day of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God. Living in a time of great tribulations, I pray that you rejoice today for the heavenly protection of the Most-Holy Mother of God and the abundant blessings that Her Son gives all who fervently turns to Him. I cannot be with you today, but I sent our most senior priest from Geneva to celebrate together with you, to deliver the antimensia to be used in divine services and extend to you my most earnest good wishes. We welcome you with open arms, and offer you our prayers and love in this difficult time. Your clergymen were canonically received into the bosom of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, so that they could adhere to the Holy Canons and minister to your souls within the embrace of the Church, free of schism or disputes. They are not under any suspension: on the contrary, they are now entirely able to conduct divine services without fear, without hesitation, to the glory of God and the salvation of all your souls. I call upon you to remain staunch in your faith, humble in spirit, without sorrow or condemnation in your hearts. The Lord Himself led you upon the path of salvation, fear not! Thanks to our struggle, the Lord makes us glad; and I know that He has prepared this for you: spiritual and heavenly joy, which the world cannot take away. I welcome you with all my heart into the Western European Diocese and eagerly await the opportunity to visit and pray together with you. Until then, be confident in my fervent prayers for you all.

With love in Christ,

+IRENEI,
Bishop of Richmond and Western Europe.

After Liturgy, a festive trapeza feast was shared, during which Fr Paul socialized with the local clergymen and many parishioners. On behalf of the parishioners, Fr Georgy expressed gratitude to the hierarchy of ROCOR and the clergymen of the Geneva parish for their joint service and moral support.

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