Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Beloved in the Lord Brethren Archpastors, Honorable Fathers,
Brothers and Sisters, God-Beloved Flock of the Russian Church Abroad:
It is with a feeling of the greatest joy that I express my heartfelt greetings on the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ and the approaching feast day of the Baptism of the Lord!
As expressed in one of our church prayers celebrating this holy event, when God deemed it good to appear on Earth, the entire world hastened to bring him gifts: “The Angels offer a hymn; the heavens, a star; the Wise Men, gifts; the shepherds, their wonder; the earth, its cave; the wilderness, a manger.”
What will we offer as a gift to the Almighty God, Who is now born a helpless Infant? “My son, give me thine heart” (Proverbs 23:26), says the Lord. Our hearts, our love, is the only gift most worthy in the eyes of God. To offer God one’s heart means to give Him all of ourselves: our mind in obeying the Gospel, our will and obedience to the commandments, submitting and actively striving for God, not as a servant but as His offspring, for whom happiness and bliss is to live in Christ and with Him.
In this past year, the fullness of the Local Russian Orthodox Church prayerfully marked the 100th anniversary of the sorrowful events connected with the Revolution and the beginning of the epoch of godless persecutions, but also the 100th anniversary of the reestablishment of the Patriarchate in Russia, when St Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia the Confessor, ascended to the Patriarchal throne, which was to be his personal Golgotha. In 2018, we intend to continue this prayerful commemoration, remembering Holy Hieromartyrs Vladimir of Kiev, Andronik, Archbishop of Perm, the Righteous Royal Passion-bearers, Holy Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Nun Barbara, who offered their hearts to Christ, the Church and their people to the extent that no earthly power could tear them from God’s love, no earthly circumstances: not “tribulation, or distress, or persecution” (Romans 8:35).
And so as we celebrated the Nativity of Christ and participate in the prayerful commemoration of this year, let us seek out the renewal of our inner strength and edification, let us pay heed to both Holy Scripture and the history of our Fatherland, let us strive to learn of the lives of these holy people and contemplate their personalities in order to enrich ourselves spiritually and intellectually. Let us bring these labors as a gift to the Child Who offered Himself to the Cross, remembering that we must extract from ourselves our wicked and dark hearts, so that in exchange for this Sacrifice we receive the gift of peace in our hearts, bright and renewed, a gift earned by the Holy Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church.
As we bend our knee before the Christ Child and joyously experience this world-saving event, I prayerfully ask on behalf of all of you God’s mercies and blessings, heavenly aid in your labors and good deeds, good health, joyful celebrations and a happy New Year!
With love in the Nascent Christ,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Nativity of Christ 2017/2018
The next Archpastoral visitation of His Grace Bishop Irenei will be from 4th - 23rd July. Below is an outline confirmed visitations on that stay.
- 6th-8th: Commemorative Festivities of the Holy Royal Martyrs on the Isle of Wight.
- Thursday 12th: Feast of Sts Peter & Paul:Venue to be announced.
- Saturday 14th: DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE: To the miraculous well of St Margaret and St Frideswide in Binsey (near Oxford), with Divine Liturgy in the ancient church at 9.45 a.m. followed by moleben at the Holy Well. His Grace will chair a meeting of the Diocesan Council this day as well. At 5.00 p.m., Vigil at the Diocesan Cathedral.
- Sunday 15th: 9.45 a.m.: Greeting and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy (10.00) at Dicoesan Cathedral.
- Monday 16th: 6.00 p.m.: Vigil of the Feast (Diocesan Cathedral, lower Church).
- Tuesday 17th: Feast of the Holy Royal Martyrs (Altar Feast of Cathedral lower Church): 9.00 a.m. Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of the Feast, followed by a luncheon in Cathedral Hall in honour of Feast and the 100th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Royal Family.
- Wednesday 18th: Royal Martyrs Sts Elisabeth & Barbara: Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in Cathedral.
- Saturday 21st: Kazan Icon of the Theotokos, the Altar Feast of the Cardiff Parish: 9.00 a.m. Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of the Feast in Cardiff. Reception to follow Liturgy.
- Sunday 22nd:Altar Feast of St Elisabeth, Wallasey: 9.45 greeting of the Bishop, 10:00 Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of the Feast in Wallasey, with Cross Procession and veneration of relics of St Elisabeth and St Barbara. A Garden Party will follow the Liturgy.
Spiritual talks will be scheduled during the visit. As ever, those wishing to meet formally with the Bishop are invited to contact the Diocesan Chancellor, Archpriest Paul Elliott, to have a meeting added to the calendar, or to approach Bishop Irenei directly during his visit to speak personally.
Welcome to the web site of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland. We invite you to explore the host of information provided here, and above all to visit one of our parishes to join us in prayer to the Holy Trinity in a land where Holy Orthodoxy was introduced in Apostolic times.