In a display of unity, hierarchs from the Russian, American, Serbian, and Antiochian Orthodox Churches recently gathered in Moscow to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. The service took place at the Moscow representation of the Orthodox Church in America, in the Ekaterininsky Temple on Vspolye Street, and was conducted in Church Slavonic, English, and Georgian.
The Divine Liturgy was presided over by the Metropolitan of Voskresensky Grigory, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Administrative Secretariat and the first vicar of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. Also present were Metropolitan Nifon of Philippopolis, the representative of the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and Bishop Antoniy of Moravich of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Moscow.
The liturgical celebration included the consecration of two new icons for the temple: one depicting Saint Raphael of Brooklyn and the other Saint Nicholas of Serbia. The prayers for the consecration of the icons were led by Metropolitan Grigory, who sprinkled holy water on the icon of Saint Raphael, while Metropolitan Nifon did the same for the icon of Saint Nicholas.
Following the service, a message from the head of the Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Tikhon, was read. The message highlighted the unique backgrounds of the honored saints, Saint Raphael describing himself as "an Arab by birth, a Greek by education, an American by residence, Russian at heart, and a Slav in soul." Saint Nicholas of Serbia spent his final years working in America, passing away at the Saint Tikhon's Monastery, the first monastery of the Orthodox Church in America, which he himself had founded.
These saints, who dedicated their lives to preaching the Gospel in America, serve as vivid examples of the universality and significance of the Orthodox faith and the Gospel for every era, every people, and every human life, as emphasized in Metropolitan Tikhon's message. The event stands as a symbol of the interconnectedness of Orthodox communities across the globe and the commonality of their spiritual endeavors.