On 12 July 2016, the commemoration day of the Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Representation of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Church of Ss Peter and Paul on Yauza in Moscow.
Concelebrating with Metropolitan Hilarion were Archbishop Peter of Chicago and Mid-America (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia); Bishop Antonije of Moravicí, representative of the Patriarch of Serbia to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), representative of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Archimandrite Seraphim (Shkred), rector of the Cathedral of St Sampson in St. Petersburg; archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR vice-chairman; archpriest Andrei Novikov, rector of the Church of the Life-Giving Trinity on the Vorobyovy Hills; archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations; and clerics of the Church of Ss Peter and Paul.
After the Litany of Fervent Supplication Metropolitan Hilarion said a prayer for peace in Ukraine.
A procession of the cross followed the Liturgy. After the service Bishop Antonije of Moravicí, rector of the Represenation of the Serbian Church, greeted the DECR chairman, saying in particular, “Many liturgical writers call the patronal feast ‘Little Pascha.’ Today you are sharing this joy with us. By your works, theological opinions, course-books and homilies you enlighten people living not only in Russia, but in other countries as well, since your books and homilies are being translated into many languages.”
Bishop Antonije conveyed to Metropolitan Hilarion cordial greetings from His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia. “Patriarch Irinej asked me to convey the words of his profound respect to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. Under his omophorion we all perform our ministry here, in Russia,” the rector of the Representation said.
On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated all those present on the patronal feast of the church, commemoration day of Ss Peter and Paul, and said in particular:
“Today we are glorifying these two apostles as the pillars of our Holy Church. We remember that, as St Peter said, Christ Himself is the corner stone of the Church and that the Church is being build up by each and all of us. We praise the holy apostles as those who were first to follow, fulfilling the Lord’s commandment, the narrow and thorny path.
“Let us pray on this feast and solemn day to the Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, that they help us uphold the apostolic faith and gain and show the apostolic zeal. Let us pray that nowadays when, like two thousand years ago, the world thirsts for God’s word, we might be vested with the power from above, receive the grace of the Holy Spirit that helps every Christian carry out his or her ministry.”