GERMAN DIOCESE: July 24, 2015
The Church of St Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles, Marks the Memory of the Royal Martyrs

On July 16-17, 2015, the feast day of the Holy Royal Martyrs, the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles in Darmstadt, Germany, the hometown of Empress-Martyr Alexandra and her sister, Holy Grand Duchess Elizabeth, held divine services. His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany officiated.

During all-night vigil, His Eminence was joined by Protopriest Artemy Vladimirov of Moscow, invited to participate as a guest clergyman, Darmstadt clergymen Protopriest Ioan Grinchuk and Priest Konstantin Grinchuk, and Hierodeacon Kornily, who was accompanying Vladyka Mark.

After vigil, Vladyka Mark spent some time with the clergymen and parishioners, when he noted that after the murder of the Royal Family and until their glorification in 1981, the Russian diaspora observed a strict lent during this anniversary.

On the morning of Friday, July 17, His Eminence was greeted by the clergymen and many faithful despite the intense summer heat, having gathered not only from other German cities, but from neighboring countries. The services were solemn, strict and conducted in Church Slavonic and German. A multitude of believers partook of the Holy Gifts of Christ from two chalices.

After the dismissal, Fr Artemy, a visitor to Darmstadt, delivered a sermon on the Royal Family and ancient Russia, during which he explained in a clear, straightforward way characteristic of his sermons the historical background of the spiritual doom of the Russian Empire. He listed many instances from the life of the Royal Martyrs which demonstrate to us examples of service to God and neighbor, the acquisition of many virtues which draw mankind to God in prayer, fasting, in consoling the needy if only in word, the acquisition of humility, patience and love.

Vladyka Mark supplemented Fr Artemy’s sermon with a few words on this holy site which brought forth the two saintly sisters, and the church built in Darmstadt upon soil brought by rail-car from the Russian Empire.

After Divine Liturgy, a short moleben was performed in the middle of the church with a reading of prayers to the Royal Martyrs, after which the faithful venerated the cross, the sisterhood offered the traditional Lenten trapeza luncheon. His Eminence spent some brief time with his flock, as he was expected to conduct services for St Elizabeth at the Buchendorf convent dedicated to her memory.

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