By Matthew Trojacek
PATRIARCHAL AWARD IS PRESENTED TO DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF HUNGARY
On September 13, in the building of the Government of Hungary, Metropolitan Hilarion of Budapest and Hungary presented the Order of Glory and Honor, 2nd class, to Zsolt Semjén, the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Christian Democratic Party.
The politician was honored with this high award by Russian Patriarch Kirill in consideration of his assistance to the Budapest-Hungarian diocese and in connection with his 60th birthday.
While congratulating Mr. Semjén, Metropolitan Hilarion said:
“You are going strong on this remarkable day, full of energy. You are a longtime assistant to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the leader of the Christian Democratic People’s Party of Hungary. In alliance with the Fidesz Party you have been bringing a weighty contribution to the upbuilding of Hungary, caring for the preservation of Christian religious values as a basis for national development and people’s welfare.”
As Metropolitan Hilarion was presenting the Order to the Deputy Prime Minister, he said:
“This is a well-deserved award. It is an expression of thankfulness for your attention to the needs of the Budapest-Hungarian diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church and recognition of your distinguished services to the stability and prosperity of Hungary.”
The Deputy Prime Minister expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church and underscored that he considers his work for the benefit of his country as a service to Christ. (Mospat)
DELEGATION OF THE MOSCOW PATRIARCHATE MEETS WITH POPE FRANCIS
On September 14, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, met in Kazakhstan’s capital, Nur-Sultan, with hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate who, with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill, attended the Seventh Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.
Participating in the meeting were Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch for All Belarus; Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan, and Metropolitan Kirill of Kazan and Tatarstan. In the course of the meeting, the participants discussed a number of aspects of Orthodox-Catholic and interreligious relations, the situation in the world, and challenges facing society. (Mospat)
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX METROPOLITAN: POPE FRANCIS AND PATRIARCH KIRILL MEETING STILL POSSIBLE AT FUTURE DATE
Pope Francis met September 14 with the head of the Russian Orthodox delegation in Kazakhstan, who said that a second papal meeting with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow is still on the table.
Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, who is in charge of foreign relations for the Russian Orthodox Church, told a pool of Vatican journalists that a second meeting between the patriarch and the Pope would require significant preparation.
The metropolitan insisted that this meeting “needs to be well prepared” and should produce an appeal at the end, similar to that signed by Pope Francis and Kirill in the first-ever meeting between a Pope and a Russian patriarch in Havana, Cuba, in 2016.
“We are very convinced that the meeting between the Pope and the patriarch is very important, so the importance of this meeting means that it must be prepared … not just a meeting while you have a coffee,” he said.
The interreligious summit in Nur-Sultan was initially expected to serve as a meeting spot for the Pope and Kirill until the patriarch backed out at the end of August. (NCR)
POPE DECRIES SAVAGERY, MONSTROSITIES AGAINST PEOPLE IN UKRAINE
Highlighting the “terrible situation” unfolding in Ukraine, Pope Francis again called for prayers for the nation’s “noble and martyred” people.
The Pope said his envoy there “told me about the pain of these people, the savagery, the monstrosities, the tortured corpses they find.” Pope Francis was relaying the news he said he received September 20 by telephone from Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, papal almoner, whom the Pope has sent to Ukraine to deliver humanitarian aid and comfort in his name.
Speaking to those gathered for his general audience in St. Peter’s Square September 21, the Pope asked that people pray and unite with “these people who are so noble and martyred.”
Cardinal Krajewski was making his fourth visit to Ukraine since the war began and traveled to Odessa and surrounding areas.
In an interview with Vatican News published September 19, the cardinal said he could only pray when he was standing near a mass grave site in eastern Ukraine and seeing the delicate and solemn removal of bodies.
“I knew I would find so many dead, but I met men who showed the beauty that is sometimes hidden in our hearts,” Cardinal Krajewski said after visiting the mass grave in the northeastern city of Izium.
“They showed a human beauty in a place where there could have only been revenge. Instead, there wasn’t,” he said. (CNS)
TRAVELING MT. ATHOS EXHIBITION COMES TO AMERICA, OPENS AT HOLY CROSS SEMINARY
A new exhibition dedicated to the Holy Mountain will be traveling throughout America in the coming months. The display, “Mount Athos: The Ark of Orthodoxy,” opened at the Maliotis Center at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese’s Hellenic College-Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts, on September 13.
The exhibition presents a reflection of a day on Mt. Athos, featuring one panel dedicated to each of the 20 ruling monasteries, and additional panels presenting the history and institutions, art, architecture, natural environment, and spiritual life of the Holy Mountain, reports the National Herald. (OrthoChristian)
POLISH AND UKRAINIAN HIERARCHS CELEBRATE WONDERWORKING ICON OF MOTHER OF GOD
For the Orthodox Church of Poland, the feast of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos is a double celebration, combined with the commemoration of the wonderworking Chełm Icon of the Mother of God.
In honor of the occasion, Archbishop Abel of Lublin and Chełm extended an invitation to Metropolitan Nikodim of Zhytomyr of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
The services for the double-feast were celebrated at the Cathedral of St. John the Theologian in Chełm, reports the Zhytomyr Diocese of the UOC.
The hierarchs concelebrated the All-Night Vigil on the evening of September 18, and the Divine Liturgy on the following morning, with Metropolitan Nikodim offering a homily following the reading of the Gospel.
Special prayers for peace in Ukraine were also offered during the service.
Ukrainian hierarchs have also recently concelebrated with hierarchs and clergy of other Local Churches in Slovakia, Serbia, and America. The Chełm Icon is one of the oldest icons of the Mother of God, painted, according to tradition, by St. Luke the Evangelist.
Like many other icons, it was gifted by the Greeks to St. Vladimir after his baptism and his marriage to Princess Anna Porphyrogenita. At the turn of the 11th century, the icon was placed in the newly-built Cathedral of the Mother of God in Chełm.
The Icon of the Mother of God currently located in the Church of St. John Theologian in Chełm is a copy of the original from the mid-19th century. It’s placed in the iconostasis above the icon of the Last Supper and lowered to the analoy during molebens. (OrthoChristian)
A RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH REPRESENTATIVE TAKES PART IN PEACE ROUNDTABLE IN TOKYO
On September 21-23, a Multi-religious Peace Roundtable “Beyond War and Towards Reconciliation” took place in Tokyo, Japan, on the initiative of the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP). Attending the meeting were representatives of world religions from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Russia, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and other countries. Discussed at the Roundtable were conflicts in various regions and prospects for the participation of religious communities in the search for their peaceful resolution.
In his address to the participants, Mr. Vakhtang V. Kipshidze, vice-chairman of the Russian Orthodox Synodal Department for Church Relations with Society and Mass Media, welcomed the initiative, and reminded the participants that the Russian Orthodox Church saw this conflict as a tragedy and fratricidal division.
He said that the Russian Orthodox Church has been praying for peace in Ukraine since 2014. (Mospat)
RELICS OF ROYAL ROMANIAN MARTYRS AND ST. NICHOLAS ARRIVE IN U.S.
The Romanian Orthodox cathedral in Chicago, Illinois, had the great joy of hosting the relics of several saints that are currently visiting the U.S.
Relics of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and the Holy Brâncoveanu Martyrs arrived at the cathedral on Monday, September 26, where they remained until the next day.
The relics are being carried on a pilgrimage throughout the U.S. by Father Emil Nedelea Cărămizaru, the rector of the Church of St. George in Bucharest, where the relics are usually kept, reports the Romanian Orthodox Metropolia of the Americas.
St. Constantin Brâncoveanu was ruler of Wallachia from August 15, 1654 to August 15, 1714, when he was dethroned and captured by the Ottomans and transported to Istanbul together with his four sons, Constantin, Stephan, Radu, and Matei.
There he was tortured and eventually executed by decapitation together with his sons and his treasurer Ianache Vacarescu. (OrthoChristian)