Vienna, November 27, 2023
The Moscow Patriarchate’s Diocese of Vienna and Austria was formed by decision of the Holy Synod on November 16, 1962.
Over the weekend, the diocese celebrated its 60th anniversary. Events began on Friday, November 24 with a concert of sacred music at the Vienna Cathedral of St. Nicholas, reports the Department for External Church Relations.
Before the concert, His Grace Bishop Alexei of Vienna and Austria greeted attendees, congratulated them with the anniversary, and spoke about the role of Orthodox churches in creating peace in the souls of people and maintaining unity between people of different nationalities.
The next evening, the All-Night Vigil for the 25th Sunday After Pentecost and in honor of the anniversary was celebrated in the same cathedral by His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, head of the Department for External Church Relations, together with His Eminence Metropolitan Mark of Ryazan and the local hierarch Bp. Alexei.
The same hierarchs again celebrated the Divine Liturgy the next morning, joined by His Eminence Metropolitan Nestor of Korsun and Western Europe.
At the end of the service, Met. Anthony warmly welcomed the concelebrating bishops and clergy as well as the faithful who had gathered for the celebration. In his homily, Met. Anthony also stressed the theme of unity, saying: “The Church unites people because Christ unites us all. We have one faith, one Baptism, one Eucharistic cup, in which we all find blessed unity. This is the great strength of our Church.”
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sent congratulations to Bp. Alexei of Vienna on the occasion:
In the challenging post-war years, during the reconstruction of the Austrian state, the Moscow Patriarchate had to exert considerable efforts to restore Church life in this country. Today, we gratefully remember all the caring and devoted believers whose diligence and efforts, with God’s assistance, led to the accomplishment of this spiritually significant feat. I would like to particularly acknowledge the labors of Bishop Melchizedek (Lebedev) and Metropolitan Irenei (Zuzemylia). Under their archpastoral guidance, the activities of the diocese flourished, and the finest liturgical and parish traditions were preserved and passed down through many years.
The initiative undertaken six decades ago continues to bear good fruit, as convincingly evidenced by the contemporary life of the diocese. Today, through the combined efforts of the clergy and active laity, there is sustained excellence in parish, representational, interchurch, and cultural-enlightenment activities. For over a century, the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Vienna has welcomed pilgrims and visitors from different countries, remaining a place of prayer for a large multinational community and a visible symbol of the enduring beauty and truth of Orthodoxy.
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