OCA Moscow Representative visits Bulgaria

OCA Moscow Representative visits Bulgaria

On Friday, June 24, 2011, by invitation of His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL of Varna and Velikopreslav and with the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH of All America and Canada, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, the Moscow Representative of the Orthodox Church in America arrived in Varna, Bulgaria for the start of a four-day visit.

Upon arrival at the Varna International Airport, His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL and clergy of the Varna Diocese greeted Archimandrite Zacchaeus and welcomed him to the city.

On Saturday, June 25, 2011, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, the Moscow Representative of the Orthodox Church in America, while on his visit to Bulgaria with the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH of All America and Canada, celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy led by His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL of Varna and Velikopreslav at the church of the Holy Venerable Martyr Procopius of Varna on the occasion of the parish’s patronal feast day.

Prior to the beginning of the Eucharistic Canon, His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL and the concelebrating clergy went to the center of the church where they met His Excellency, Mr. Boyko Borisov, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria who arrived to congratulate the Metropolitan and the parish community on the occasion of their patronal feast day. After exchanging mutual words of greetings with the Prime Minister, His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL introduced Archimandrite Zacchaeus to Mr. Borisov and the other dignitaries accompanying him. Following the salutatory remarks, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy resumed.

Following the service, His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL greeted the faithful and congratulated them with the feast of the Holy Venerable Martyr Procopius of Varna. Also, His Eminence warmly welcomed Father Zacchaeus to the church and presented him with an icon of the parish’s Patron Saint. In turn, Archimandrite Zacchaeus thanked the Metropolitan for his kind words, hospitality and also loving support of the Orthodox Church in America. In prayerful memory of the visit as well as a symbol of the blessed unity that exists between the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Archimandrite Zacchaeus presented Metropolitan KIRILL with an icon of the OCA’s heavenly patron, the Venerable Saint Herman of Alaska with a particle of his holy relics.

In honor of the parish feast day, a festal cross procession was held around the site of the construction of the church in which participated the Bulgarian Navy’s orchestra. Following the conclusion of the festal service, a luncheon was held for all at a local restaurant.

After the conclusion of the festal luncheon, Metropolitan KIRILL invited Archimandrite Zacchaeus to the Diocesan Cathedral of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. After praying before the holy icons and relics enshrined within the cathedral, the Metropolitan and his guest went to the adjacent Diocesan Chancery and Metropolia where they continued in conversation in an informal setting.

Later that day, His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL took Archimandrite Zacchaeus to the Monastery of the Holy Equal to the Apostles Ss. Constantine and Helen to venerate the holy items there. Following prayers in the monastery, the Metropolitan hosted his guest at a dinner on the shore of the Black Sea.

On Sunday, June 26, 2011, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, the Moscow Representative of the Orthodox Church in America, while on a visit to Bulgaria with the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH of America and Canada, and by invitation of His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL of Varna and Velikopreslav, concelebrated the Divine Liturgy led by His Eminence in the Church of All Saints of Bulgaria in the village of Banovo on their patronal feast day.

Following the Divine Liturgy, a parish festival was held at the village hall which the mayor opened for the parish community. There, His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL served a moleben with the lesser blessing of water. Afterwards, Bulgarian folk songs were sung and dances danced.

Later that day, His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL took Archimandrite Zacchaeus on an excursion to the ruins of the ancient castle in the town of Balchik.

Afterwards, the Metropolitan and Archimandrite traveled to the village of Bulgarevo where they visited the Monastery of St Catherine the Great Martyr where they were welcomed by the abbot, Archimandrite Mefody, who gave them a tour of the monastery and then hosted them to a dinner in the monastery refectory.

On Monday, June 27, 2011, on his final day of the visit to Bulgaria, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, the Moscow Representative of the Orthodox Church in America was taken by his host, His Eminence, Metropolitan KIRILL of Varna and Velikopreslav to the ancient capital of Pliska where they visited the ruins of the Monastery of St Sofia.

Later that day, Metropolitan KIRILL took Archimandrite Zacchaeus to the town Madara where they walked through the ancient cliffs where there were once monasteries and where ascetics lived. After praying in the newly restored chapel inside the caves, Metropolitan KIRILL escorted Father Zacchaeus to Varna’s international airport for his departure home to Moscow.

Prior to departure, Archimandrite Zacchaeus sincerely thanked Metropolitan KIRILL for the gracious hospitality shown during the visit to the Diocese of Varna and wished him many years!

Photo galleries may be found at www.st-catherine.ru/news