The First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad Celebrates Divine Liturgy at St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris
On Sunday, November, 20, 2011, the anniversary of the issuance of Holy Patriarch Tikhon’s historic Ukase No. 362 and the birthday of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, celebrated Divine Liturgy at the invitation of His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Koman, Exarch of Russian Orthodox Churches of the Constantinople Patriarchate in Western Europe, at St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris, France. His Eminence was joined by Archbishop Gabriel himself, His Grace Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe and a host of clergymen of the Exarchate, the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Abroad.
Before the service, the hierarchs met at the residence of the Patriarchal Exarch for a brotherly discussion on possible paths of joint work and cooperation in strengthening the salvific service of the Church of Christ in the difficult circumstances of the Russian diaspora.
At the end of Liturgy, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad and the Patriarchal Exarch exchanged greetings and gave each other memorial gifts. Archbishop Gabriel gave Metropolitan Hilarion, on behalf of the clergymen and flock of the cathedral, an icon of Holy Prince Alexander Nevsky, noting that 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the cathedral. Vladyka Gabriel stressed the importance of the day’s prayerful communion, which bore witness to the unity of the Russian Church Abroad and the Exarchate of Russian Orthodox Churches in Western Europe, which share the same roots.
In his response, Vladyka Hilarion noted that this was the first concelebration in St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral by a Primate of the Russian Church Abroad and the Primate of the Exarchate of Western Europe. He then delivered a sermon in which he expressed his wish for peace, spiritual joy in the Resurrected Christ, abundant mercies and blessings of the Three-Day Resurrected God. In conclusion, Vladyka Hilarion addressed Archbishop Gabriel, thanking him for the opportunity to celebrate Liturgy in this historic cathedral, so infused with years of prayer, and wished him the all-powerful aid of God in continuing his archpastoral service as Patriarchal Exarch, as well as health and eternal salvation. In memory of the event, Vladyka Hilarion gave Archbishop Gabriel a holy panaghia.
After the trapeza held to celebrate the first divine concelebration by a First Hierarch of ROCOR and the Patriarchal Exarch, Metropolitan Hilarion bade a fraternal farewell to Archbishop Gabriel, the clergymen and worshipers, and, giving his blessing, departed to the city of Cannes.