Pan-Orthodox evening vesper in Vienna
On the first week of Great Lent, when church celebrates Sunday of Orthodoxy, reminding us of a first victory of Orthodoxy over iconoclasm, and re-establishment of icons in Constantinople in 843. AD, according to tradition, the Orthodox faithful living in capital of Austria, together are attending the Pan-Orthodox vesper service, served by priesthood of Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Czech, Georgian Orthodox church and the patriarchate of Constantinople and patriarchate of Antioch, each year in other church.
This year's Pan-Orthodox evening vesper has been served in Russian church of Saint Nicholas. Bishop Ilarion (Alfejev) of Vienna and Austria in his speech talked about generally renovated, beautiful church of Saint Nicholas, which in December last year should consecrated blessed repose Archbishop of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II.
He reminded us that there are a lot of people who thinks that we live in post-Christian times, where Christianity is past. Some churches are being perceived as museum displays where only old people visit.
Unlike them, us Orthodox Christians know that the Church of Christ will never grow old. We see that in the countries ruled by atheism, for example Russia,Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, Christian faith has its renaissance. There is no crisis or a post-Christian time for the Orthodox church. The reason for that is it is based on Christ's learning. The mission of Orthodox Christians is to stronger our faith and testify it to those who never were acquainted with it.
He pointed out that all Orthodox Christians make one unique family, and at its head is Our Lord Jesus Christ. With great pleasure bishop Ilarion has greeted Serbian bishop Constantine of Middle Europe and thanked him for his presence, wishing him good health and God's help in his pastoral work.
He pointed out that he will convey greetings to Orthodox archbishops in Germany, who will assemble next week in Hamburg, in Russian Orthodox church, as the guests of bishop Teofan
Gathered at the common prayer, the Orthodox faithful abroad testified and presented catholicity and unity of Orthodoxy.
Text and photo: Miodrag Mecanovic