Saturday, May 22, 2010

Orthodox liturgy at St. Peter's.

Here is a piece of news I would have expected to receive a bit more attention, which I found out about by way of Byzantine, Texas:

On 19 May 2010, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, currently in Italy with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the burial site of St. Peter in the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Concelebrating were Archbishops Kirill of Yaroslavl and Rostov and Feognost of Sergiev Posad.

Assistant to the DECR Chairman, L. Sevastianov sang hymns in Znamenny chant. Present in the crypt were believers who arrived from Russia to take part in Metropolitan Hilarion’s pilgrimage.

After the divine service, the hierarchs, clergymen and all worshippers venerated the particles of St. Peter’s holy relics, singing magnification to the apostle.

This is the first report that I've read of an Orthodox prelate celebrating the Divine Liturgy at St. Peter's, which is why I'm surprised this event hasn't received more media attention. As one might expect, Metropolitan Hilarion's visit to Rome has been noted by Vatican watchers, but none of the press reports that I've come across have made mention of Thursday's liturgy in the crypt of St. Peter's. I do not know whether this event is the first of its kind; the least I can say is that I have yet to find evidence that any other Orthodox liturgies have been celebrated in the Vatican in recent times. I'd be happy to hear from any readers who may have more information on this topic. In the meantime, I'm sure that I'll continue to wonder why this has been such a quiet story. AMDG.


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