WESTERN EUROPEAN DIOCESE: September 28, 2018
Bishop Irenei of Richmond and Western Europe heads feast-day celebrations at Geneva’s Elevation of the Cross Cathedral
On September 26, 2018, newly-appointed Ruling Bishop Irenei of Richmond and Western Europe arrived in the diocesan center in Geneva, Switzerland, on the eve of the feast of the Elevation of the Cross Cathedral. His Grace was greeted by its parishioners and visiting diocesan clergymen under the peal of bells. During all-night vigil, Bishop Irenei performed the Rite of the Elevation of the Cross of the Lord. Protopriest Mikhail Gundyaev, rector of the Parish of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Geneva, attended Divine Liturgy the next day.
In his sermon, Vladyka Irenei discussed the history of the holiday, that in the first three centuries after Christ, this great holy relic was buried under the earth, just as the first Christians were “buried” under persecution; they were crucified, burned alive and thrown to wild animals of prey. Therefore, the death on the Cross of Christ served as an example of death to His dedicated servants. The Lord deemed proper to bring St Helen, Equal-to-the-Apostles, to the royal throne. She discovered the Honorable Cross in Jerusalem, which was greeted with great joy by Christians, who prostrated themselves before it, and whose inexpressible grace brought them strength. “In the Church, everything begins with the cross. It accompanies our lives, from the cross on a chain around our necks, donned during Baptism, when we first entered the Kingdom of Christ, and in death, when a cross is erected above our grave,” said Bishop Irenei. He called upon every worshiper, as he venerates the Cross of the Lord, to dispense with sinfulness and worldly passions, pride and weakness of faith, and gain strength from the Honorable Rood, joyously carrying his own cross, which from His love of mankind Christ gives each of us for salvation and eternal life.
After Divine Liturgy, a moleben and procession of the cross were performed. Afterwards, the Senior Priest of the cathedral, Protopriest Pavel Tsvetkoff, on behalf of the clergymen, parish council and parishioners, addressed the bishop and expressed their genuine joy at the arrival of a new ruling bishop to Western Europe, wishing him God’s aid in the pacification and continuing blossoming of parish life in the cathedral city and diocese.
All the parishioners and guests then shared a festive trapeza luncheon with Bishop Irinei and the clergymen held in the courtyard of the parish house.