On January 23, 2022, hierarchs of three Local Orthodox Churches concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at the house church in the name of the Holy Right-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky in Buenos Aires (Argentina), reports the website of the Argentina and South America Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Metropolitan of Buenos Aires and All Argentina Santiago (Patriarchate of Antioch), Bishop John of Caracas and South America (ROCOR), Bishop Kirill of Buenos Aires and South Central America (Serbian Patriarchate) and Bishop Leonid of Argentina and South America (ROC MP).
The archpastors were co-served by Archpriest Sergiy Yurin, Secretary of the Diocese of Argentina, and Priest Alexei Lysenko, rector of the church in honor of St. Job of Pochaev in the city of San Martin.
Prayer petitions for deliverance from the coronavirus infection were offered during the special litany.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy, the glorification of the feast of the Epiphany took place, then Bishop Kirill read a prayer to St. Theophan, the hermit Vyshensky.
Then Bishop Leonid addressed the audience:
“Dear Bishops, fathers, brothers and sisters, I sincerely congratulate you on Sunday and the feast of the Epiphany!
Today the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of St. Theophan, the recluse Vyshinsky. In the canon dedicated to St. Theophan, we heard such words, St. Theophan “… thinking unceasingly, there is no crown without victory and victory without feat.” Today you, dear Bishops, have each accomplished a small feat – finding the time to gather together and perform such a solemn, joyful joint service. We cordially greet you and thank you for the conciliar prayer.
In the second half of last year, we repeatedly tried to get together, but we, for one reason or another, each different, did not manage to do this.
Thanks be to God that today the Lord has gathered us together. I sincerely wish you, dear masters, that the grace that poured out on the Jordan River during the Epiphany will always be with you, and life will always be sanctified by the Star of Bethlehem.”
At the end of his welcoming speech, Bishop Leonid presented to the Most Reverend Bishops icons of the Holy Right-Believing Prince Alexander Nevsky, whose 800th birthday anniversary the Russian Orthodox Church celebrated in 2021.
In his speech, Bishop John noted: “The Christmas cycle is coming to an end, Great Lent is approaching. I wish you all strength for Great Lent and a blessed Pascha.
On Saturday after Theophany, in the Gospel reading, we heard the words that after Baptism, the Lord spent in the wilderness, fasting for 40 days, setting an example for us.
And in today’s Gospel reading, a week after Theophany, we heard how the Lord, after forty days of fasting, came out to preach the Gospel. He came to preach the Word to us and to suffer for us, to redeem us from sin.
After we have celebrated the feasts of the Nativity and Epiphany, we must soon begin again the Christian feat of fasting.”
His Eminence Santiago said in response: “I would like to thank our brother, Bishop Leonid, for inviting me to this service. This is a great honor for me. I also want to thank our brothers, Bishop John and Bishop Kirill, with whom we served together today. We, all Orthodox bishops who serve here in Argentina, in Buenos Aires, feel like brothers in Christ. As you know, fraternal relations between the Moscow, Antioch and Serbian Patriarchates are very old and very deep.
Also, our church in honor of the Holy Great Martyr George is always open for you, dear Bishop John, Bishop Leonid, Bishop Kirill, and for all of you, dear brothers and sisters, at any time. Our fraternal concelebration here in Argentina is very important for everyone. Thank you all!”
Bishop Kirill thanked Bishop Leonid for the invitation to a joint fraternal service. “I am always very inspired by the opportunity to celebrate divine services together with brother bishops, priests, and believing people. This is evidence of our unity in Christ. There is one God, the Savior of all mankind – Christ and one Church. United Orthodox Church. This is important to emphasize – our unity in Christ.
Today the memory of St. Theophan the Recluse is celebrated. He reminds us and shows us by the example of his life that we often feel free, in fact we are in captivity of our sinful nature. Only the grace of the Lord can deliver us from this captivity. May this Divine grace be with you all in the Trinity of the glorious God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
While kissing the cross, all those gathered for the service were presented with Orthodox calendars for 2022, made with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Kirill (SOC).