International Orthodox Christian News

Parastas memorial service conducted at the coffin of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy

Parastas, the prayers of the Great Office for the Dead, was said at the coffin of the deceased Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church on December 7 at the Cathedral Church of Christ the Saviour. The Parastas was served by Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutisy and Kolomna, who has come into self-governance over the Moscow diocese until a new Primate is elected by the Local Council, according to the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was assisted by the Moscow vicar bishops and clergy members of the diocesan council and deans of church districts in Moscow.

In his address to the congregation, Metropolitan Juvenaly testified that it would not be an exaggeration to say that entire peoples of Russia felt profound sorrow, crying and weeping as they knew that the deceased Patriarch prayed and interceded for them, safeguarding peace in his homeland and building unity.

“We all who have gathered together today at the Primate’s coffin were his closes helpers. Here there are vicar bishops and members of the diocesan council and deans – all with whom he daily shared the responsibility for governing the Moscow Diocese as its ruling bishop. And we feel a special bereavement, but we know that sorrow cannot be drowned in tears. For us all it is a trial, a lesson’, His Eminence Juvenaly said.

Speaking about the deceased Patriarch Alexy, the metropolitan described him as a man of faith. ‘Without personal faith he could not have returned the faith in God to Russian people who had lived and had been raised under atheism. He attracted our people to Christ, and today we should continue the task he set us, not to weaken our service’, he said.

Having announced that the Moscow clergy would celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the morning at the Church of Christ the Saviour, Metropolitan said addressing his concelebrants, ‘It is an appropriate moment for us before we have said our prayer to God to turn to our First Hierarch, asking his forgiveness for all our imperfections. He trusted us, and we always sought to be obedient to the Church through him. We were aware that we served not a man but a Patriarch through whom we serve God and sought to do it in good faith. There is no man who lived and did not sin. And we sinned and voluntary or involuntary offended the rank and dignity of His Holiness the Patriarch when we proved unable to do what he wanted us to do. And at this moment I would like to appeal to you, archpastors and pastors, who stand around the body of our father and Patriarch, to kneel and ask him as his brothers and children for his forgiveness for all we could have tolerated in our imperfection until the last moment of his life’.

‘Forgive us, Holy Master and Father, and bless us for continuing our service of the holy Church, our people and our motherland! And our heartfelt prayer will always be for you’, the archpastor said and expressed hope that His Holiness Patriarch Alexy now acquired the daring before God to pray for the living and help people.

The metropolitan reminded the congregation that the parting with the deceased Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church took place in the days of the Presentation of the Holy Virgin in the Temple, and worshippers asked her to accompany the immortal soul of the Patriarch to the Throne of God in the Heavenly Kingdom.

DECR Communication Service

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