WESTERN EUROPEAN DIOCESE: December 30, 2019
Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe makes an archpastoral visit to St Nicholas Parish in Basel
His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe made his first archpastoral visit on December 21-22, 2019, to St Nicholas Parish in Basel, Switzerland, in honor of the parish’s patronal feast day. Vladyka Irenei led all-night vigil and Divine Liturgy, marking St Nicholas’ memory this year on the nearest Sunday to the feast. His Grace was co-served by the parish Rector, Priest Pavel Golinsky, together with Deacon Vladimir Svistun, and the temple was filled with a large gathering of faithful, not only regular parishioners but also pilgrims from different parts of Switzerland, as well as nearby cities in France and Germany.
In his sermon, the Bishop emphasized the special significance of St Nicholas of Myra, who is deeply beloved and amongst the most well-known of all those in the assembly of the hierarchs of our Mother Church. Around the world he is revered as benefactor of the needy, but fewer are as familiar with his gift of fervent defense of the truth. “As soft as his heart is for those needing spiritual and physical help, so was his will firm like iron when it came to defending the faith from error and the Church from those who would pervert it,” the preacher said. And though the Holy Church is faced with renewed trials today, being attacked by those who would devour her believers with false teachings, Bishop Irenei pointed out that she retains the relevant and important witness of this same St Nicholas. His Grace called on all to be strong in faith, gentle in their hearts, filled with the Divine love that saves the soul and heals the world.
After the service, Bishop Irenei took part in the opening of the exhibition of rare photographs of the Holy Royal Martyrs, entitled The Tsar’s Family, which took place in the Union Center, not far from the church. The project was implemented by the St Nicholas Parish in conjunction with the Russian Public Organization of Basel, and featured the rarest photographs from the life of the Royal Family, provided by the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow. In his remarks at the opening of the exhibit, Bishop Irenei urged all to remember their history and origins in order to prevent the recurrence of those disasters that befell the twentieth century. The event was attended by senior adviser to the Embassy of Russia in Switzerland, Mr Alexei Yuryevich Grigoryev, who, referring to the contemporary fate of the emigration, emphasized the importance of the mission of the Church Abroad in the spiritual nourishment of the Russian diaspora.
On the occasion of the Bishop’s visit, a meal was prepared by the sisterhood at which parishioners and visitors to the exhibition were able to continue in friendly communication with His Grace and the parish clergy. After the meal, His Grace departed for London.