International Orthodox Christian News

On 29 November 2008, the Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad arrived in Johannesburg.

That same day in the evening, the All-Night Vigil Service was celebrated in the Russian Orthodox parish of St. Sergius of Radonezh. Praying at the service was Metropolitan Seraphim pf |Johannesburg and Pretoria (Patriarchate of Alexandria). Concelebrating with Metropolitan Kirill were clerics of the Johannesburg and Pretoria diocese, and ordained members of the Russian Orthodox Church delegation. Attending the service were representatives of the diplomatic corps, members of the Serbian, Romanian, and Greek communities, as well as many parishioners. Singing during the service were choirs of the Moscow Theological schools and the choir of St. Sergius church.

After the divine service, Metropolitan Seraphim of the Johannesburg and Pretoria diocese greeted Metropolitan Kirill and noted the outstanding role of Metropolitan Kirill in preaching the Gospel and witness about Orthodoxy in many regions of planet. 'Millions of people in the entire world know you, love and respect you as a person with a living voice of the Russian Orthodox Church,' the hierarch of the Church of Alexandria underscored. Metropolitan Kirill thanked Metropolitan Seraphim for his warm words and noted that 'the Church of St Sergius is a good example of fruitful cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Alexandria.'

On November 30, the commemoration day of the disciple of St Sergius, St Nikon of Radonezh, Metropolitan Kirill officiated at the Divine Liturgy. The rector of the church, Rev. Ioann Lapidus was elevated to the rank of archpriest in consideration of his zealous pastoral work and in connection with the 10th anniversary of St Sergius parish in Johannesburg and the 5th anniversary of its consecration.

After the Divine Liturgy Rev. Ioann greeted Metropolitan Kirill and in his address drew a parallel between the Gospel parable of the sower and the missionary work of the Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department.

Metropolitan Kirill congratulated the rector and the parishioners with the commemoration dates and said that 'the recently decorated church has become a living bright testimony to the rich spiritual traditions of the Russian Orthodoxy in the south of the African continent.'

After the Liturgy, the pupils of the Sunday school gave a concert dedicated to St Sergius of Radonezh for the Russian Orthodox Church delegation.

That same day in the evening a reception was given in the "Sandton Sun' Hall in Johannesburg on the occasion of the commemorative dates of the Church of St Sergius. Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad addressed many guests who attended the reception and read out a message of Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia.

High patriarchal award were conferred upon Russian Ambassador to the SAR A. Makarov, benefactors of the church, and parishioners who have made a particular contribution to the parish of St Sergius.

Attending the reception were metropolitan Seraphim of Johannesburg and Pretoria (Patriarchate of Alexandria), metropolitan Chrysostomos of Kition (Orthodox Church of Cyprus), bishop Antonius Marcus (Coptic Church), heads and representatives of the diplomatic mission of Ukraine, Belarus and Bulgaria, representatives of South Africa business circles. Members of the Serbian, Bulgaria, Greek and Romanian communities in the SAR, and many parishioners of the Church of St Sergius.


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