On September 5-6, the clergy and faithful of the Patriarchal Parishes in the United States, Canada and Mexico prayerfully marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the special union of parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate on the North American continent.
The celebration was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the repose of the first Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, the ever-memorable Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) – legendary hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 20th Century, thanks to whom, the crisis of the relationship of the Church in the Fatherland with the North American Metropolia was overcome. By granting the latter the right of autocephaly and recognizing the full canonical responsibility of the Orthodox Church in America for the organization of church life in the countries of North America, the Russian Orthodox Church had defined a new status for those parishes in the USA and Canada that expressed their desire to remain under the jurisdiction of the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. United on a territorial basis in special districts, they began to be called the Patriarchal Parishes in the United States and the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada.
Due to the continued epidemiological situation and the various restrictions imposed by it, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Matthew of Sourozh, Interim Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA & Canada, previously planned services and jubilee events were postponed until the end of the quarantine. On September 6, Divine Liturgy was served in the parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA, Canada and Mexico during which special petitions giving thanks to God for His blessings upon the clergy and spiritual children of the Russian Orthodox Church on the American continent, as well as commemorated the departed archpastors, clergy and faithful of the Patriarchal Parishes.
At the conclusion of the services, the Epistle of Bishop Matthew of Sourozh was read in all the parishes of Moscow Patriarchate in the USA, Canada and Mexico which he said in part:
Today, we prayerfully remember the 42nd anniversary of the blessed repose of Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov), the first Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA and Canada. The life of the Patriarchal Parishes is inspired by the archpastoral instruction and personal example of this outstanding hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who stood at the origins of new ecclesiastical life in North America. The apostolic word of Metropolitan Nikodim was addressed to everyone who sought the truth, regardless of nationality, social status or religious views. Through the efforts of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Nikodim, Orthodox brotherhoods and sisterhoods were opened in North America, parish schools were established, and new clergy were ordained. Many of the clergy, ordained by Vladyka Nikodim were Americans who converted to Orthodoxy, and later led generations of English-speaking parishioners to Christ.
We give thanks to the Lord and giver of all blessings for His mercies shown to us. With love and gratitude, we prayerfully honor the memory of all who have labored for Holy Orthodoxy in the countries of North America: hierarchs, clergy of all ranks, members of parish committees and councils, choir directors and chanters, Sunday school teachers, members of brotherhoods and sisterhoods.
Today, celebrating the 50th anniversary in the difficult conditions of modern life and the trials facing all of mankind, following the example of our devout and pious predecessors, let us be courageous and strong so that in accordance with the words of the apostles, we may have common joy to praise God and be in favor among all the people, so that the Lord may add daily those to the Church who are being saved. (Acts 2:47).
On the same Sunday, during the Divine Liturgy in the Dormition Diocesan Cathedral in London, Bishop Matthew prayerfully commemorated his predecessor archpastors on the North American soil, and also prayed for the health and God’s help for the ministry of clergy and laity of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Canada and Mexico.
Photo gallery: Festive divine services on September 6 in the Dormition Diocesan Cathedral in London, in St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City and the St. Barbara Diocesan Cathedral in Edmonton, Canada.