The archbishop of Paris says he found the Russian Orthodox Church to be a "living and holy Church, strong because of the testimony of its martyrs." Cardinal André Vingt-Trois affirmed this in a communiqué after his trip to Moscow last week. The cardinal was returning the visit made by Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II to Paris last October.
On October 28, 2008 at a fall academic convocation at Nashotah House Seminary in Nashotah, Wisconsin, the degree Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, was bestowed on SVS Chancellor, Archpriest Chad Hatfield.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I (Vartholomeos) on Sunday addressed an event in the northern Greek city of Drama marking the 17th anniversary of his enthronement, where the "Primus inter pares" of the world's Orthodox Church leaders expressed bitterness over continuing problems facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey. Bartholomew again touched on the difficulties faced by the ancient Patriarchate in exercising its duties and in the preservation of the millennia-old Christian Orthodox heritage in the neighbouring country, an EU hopeful.
Chancellor, Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Dean Emeritus, Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko, and Dean, Archpriest John Behr, attended the world premiere of the English setting of "The Passion According to Saint Matthew," a musical composition by His Grace Hilarion (Alfeyev), Bishop of Vienna and Austria, on October 25, 2008 in Toronto. Bishop Hilarion's musical settings, which include as well "The All-Night Vigil" and "The Divine Liturgy," have received high acclaim from both ecclesial and secular reviewers.
The Russian Orthodox Church intends to participate in festive events during the Year of Russia in France planned in 2010. "The Russian Orthodox Church will also participate in this campaign and bring one of its relics to France, so that Orthodox believers and members of other Christian confessions could pray before it," Alexy II told journalists after his meeting with the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, Andre Vingt-Trois in St. Daniel Monastery of Moscow.
Renowned missionary Hegumen Sergy (Rybko) compared those who oppose missionary activity among unformal youth to Pharisees and urged them to follow the will of Russian Church hierarchs. In his interview to Interfax-Religion Fr. Sergy reminded that "Pharisees often blamed Christ for turning his sermon not to a certain elite, but to everyone without distinction - to gentiles, publicans, whores and leading them to repentance."