On March 4, 2004 one hour after midnight Chilandar Monastery on the Mount Athos was caught by a catastrophic fire. There were no casualties, and the firefighters, monks and workers in the monastery managed to keep the fire under control. The fire, which spread by the rooftop, completely destroyed a part of the monastery complex from the heugomen's cell, through the hospitality rooms all the way to the Tower of Saint Sava. The Church of King Milutin, the treasury, archives and monastery library remained out of the reach of the fire.
With the blessings of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a delegation from the Order of St. Andrew, led by Archon Ambassador George L. Argyros and National Commander Anthony J. Limberakis, MD, participated in a Religious Freedom Mission to the European Union in pursuit of human rights and religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate from January 26-February 7, 2010. The delegation traveled to Madrid, Spain, which currently holds the EU presidency; Brussels, Belgium, the headquarters of the EU and ended in Athens, Greece where they joined His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. They were guided by His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, Director of the Liaison Office of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the European Union. Together with Archons Argyros and Limberakis, the delegation also included Archon Christopher Stratakis, Legal Counselor; Fr. Alex Karloutsos, Archon Spiritual Advisor; and Mr. Robert Lapsely, former assistant Secretary of State for California.
Members of the St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary community attended the Pan-Orthodox Vespers on the Sunday of Orthodoxy (2/21/10), celebrated this year at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, Yonkers. The SVS contingent very much appreciated the hospitality showed by V. Rev. Jaroslav Sudick and his parish community. V. Rev. John Behr (SVS Dean) gave the Homily this evening. This is what he said...
"Today, the first Sunday in Lent, is known as the Sunday of Orthodoxy. This isn't just a general reference to orthodoxy, and it is not a congratulatory pat on the back after getting through the first week of Lent!
Ukraine's next president Viktor Yanukovich has received a blessing from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at the Kiev Laura of the Caves ahead of the official inauguration ceremony. "May God bless you in your accession to power," the Patriarch told the president-elect. The Church Primate stressed the importance of establishing friendly relations between "component parts of Kievan Rus." "God grants, your undertakings will be aimed at Ukraine's prosperity," the Patriarch said after reading in Ukrainian several lines from the Prayer for Ukraine and giving Yanukovich an image of the Savior as a present.
In his report to the Bishops' Conference, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia made a special mention of the importance of active efforts for developing Orthodox presence in Asia. Addressing the clergy who assembled on 2 February 2010 at the Councils Hall of the Church of Christ the Saviour, His Holiness gave them the following information: a church dedicated to the Holy Trinity was consecrated in June 2009 in Ulan-Bator. Its foundation stone was laid by Patriarch Kirill in summer 2001 when he was DECR chairman. A church of All Saints was consecrated in Pattaya during the celebration marking the 10th anniversary of Orthodoxy in Thailand in December 2009. The foundation stones were laid for a church of the Trinity in Phuket and a church of the Dormition in Ratchaburi. An Orthodox church of the Dormition of Our Lady as a spiritual memorial to the Russian Orthodox Mission was consecrated last October in the territory of the Russian Embassy in China.