WESTERN EUROPEAN DIOCESE: June 22, 2022
On the Sunday of All Saints, Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe celebrates Divine Liturgy at Exaltation of the Holy Cross Cathedral in Geneva
On June 19, 2022, All Saints Day, the first Sunday after Pentecost, His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross in Geneva, Switzerland. Co-serving His Grace were the Ecclesiarch of the Cathedral, Archpriest Pavel Tzvetkoff, together with the Cathedral’s Archpriest Emelien Pocinoc and Archdeacon Dometian (Redko), aided by a full complement of altar servers.
The extraordinarily high temperatures affecting most of Europe at present did not spare Geneva; but despite the sweltering temperatures the Cathedral was completely full of faithful who came to pray to Christ and receive the Holy Mysteries on the day dedicated to the Holy Spirit’s work to create saints of men and women throughout the world. A large choir sang during the Divine Services of the eve and the Sunday itself.
During his homily, Vladyka Irenei reflected upon the message of a day dedicated to All Saints: "There is none, not one, whom the Lord does not wish to make into a saint," said the preacher. "We are called to bear this in mind today: to bring into memory not only all the saints of the past, but also those yet to come - those whom God yearns to transform by His holiness. And if, in our present day, it seems the ranks of saints around us are few, let us remember this: we, too, are inhabitants of this world, this life, today. If the work of sanctification must be more heartily undertaken, let us start with ourselves. This is how God so often has changed the world, so often altered its sorrowful course of conflict and torments and created peace: by stirring the hearts of His faithful and devout children to live holier lives, and through that holiness to pour out grace upon the world that is so clearly in need of it."
Touching upon the continuing, sorrowful events of the broader world, His Grace added: "It is impossible to conceive that the great conflict of our present moment, the evil and dehumanizing war we see taking place in the lands of our fathers, would be taking place at all if, on all sides, this simple truth was remembered. In every brother, in every human life, we see the saint that God can create. We see holiness, whether already expressed or hidden in potential."
At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the Bishop was greeted with words of welcome by Archpriest Pavel, and then spent time visiting with parishioners, including recently-arrived refugees from Ukraine, who expressed their joy at being part of the community of the indivisible Church and to receive the embrace - as well as practical aid - of the Cathedral and Diocese.
During his time in Geneva, Vladyka Irenei also chaired a meeting of the Parish Council of the Geneva Cathedral, whose activities are focussed upon the pastoral life of the parish, and in this meeting discussed various activities of the parish, including its weekly food distribution to refugees, as well as plans for forthcoming summer camps, including a camp specifically for the children of Ukrainian refugees. Bishop Irenei also chaired a meeting of the Committee of the Cathedral’s Foundation, which is occupied with the preservation the the building and grounds. His Grace had the opportunity to survey the status of the ongoing building and restoration works, which in addition to improving the Cathedral’s ventilation and heating systems, will also provide the Cathedral parish with new spaces for meetings, offices, receptions and other activities.
On Monday His Grace departed Geneva. In the coming week, he will visit the Parish of St John the Russian in Lyon, France.