Thousands of Patras citizens welcomed the shrine with the pieces of relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov on November 16. The relics were delivered to Greece just before the beginning of the International Conference “The Voice of Saint Andrew the First-Called in the Modern World”. The Conference is held on November 17-18 by the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called jointly with the Metropolia of Patras.
In the morning on November 16 a prayer service was held at Zhukovsky International Airport of Moscow. After that the delegation of the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called left for Patras.
Ministers of the Metropolia of Patras with Metropolitan Chrysostom of Patras in charge were waiting at Araxos Airport to meet the plane of the Emergencies Ministry with the delegation of the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called on board. Airport workers and customs officers came to worship the relics. After the prayer the relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov were brought to one of the biggest churches in the Balkans – to the Church of Saint Andrew the First-Called.
The orchestra and thousands of people were waiting for the relics next to the Church entrance. The shrine with the pieces of the relics was placed in the centre of the Church. Thousands of people were standing in line to worship the relics. The entire Church was filled with believers.
Metropolitan Chrysostom of Patras said some welcome words for the gathered people. He emphasized the significance of the delivery of the relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov: “Today in our Church and in our Metropolia we are welcoming the healing relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov. This event is of great significance for all believers”. His Grace expressed his gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill for blessing the delivery of the relics to Patras. Metropolitan Chrysostom thanked the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called as they had organized the delivery of the relics. He presented the icon of Apostle Andrew the First-Called as the token of great appreciation to Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called.
Vladimir Yakunin shared the words of gratitude to thank for the happy feelings the members of the delegation of the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called enjoyed as they could take part in the celebrations that started with the delivery of the relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov. Vladimir Yakunin welcomed the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Greece and members of the Russian delegation who accompanied the relics. “It was made possible to organize this event thanks to your blessing and the blessing of Patriarch Kirill. It is a part of the significant event – the Conference which is dedicated to the role and the place of Eastern Christianity in the history and in the present-day world” –Vladimir Yakunin said when he addressed to Metropolitan Chrysostom.
“We would like to thank Patras citizens and representatives of the Metropolia of Patras for this feeling of home, friendship and unity of faith. This year the Foundation marked its 25th anniversary. We have been following our mission for 25 years. We have been committed to the idea of the unity of Orthodox Christian people in the world, the unity of the Orthodox Christianity. We believe it is exceptionally important to be entitled to have freedom of religion. One shouldn’t teach us how to live. We have our supreme Teacher. He gave us Faith” – said Vladimir Yakunin.
He presented the icon of Saint Seraphim of Sarov to Metropolitan Chrysostom of Patras.
Dragomir Karić, Doctor of Philosophy, famous Serbian politician and public figure, Deputy of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, came to Greece as a member of the delegation of the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called: “Today is an unforgettable day of my life. Together with the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called I take part in the mission to bring the icon and the relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov to Greece. This event is of great importance for our Orthodox Christian nations. We are united by the belief in one God, by our Christian faith. There is nothing more important for Serbian, Russian and Greek people than faith in God. Having our faith in God we are afraid of nothing but God. We can overcome any obstacle when we believe in God. We are united not against somebody but for the sake of faith, for the sake of friendship. Believe and do good, and you will get good!”
On the blessing from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia the relics of Saint Seraphim of Sarov from the Holy Trinity Diveyevo Monastery of Seraphim of Sarov will be at the Metropolia of Patras from November 16 to November 26. The relics will be at the Church of Saint Andrew the First-Called in Patras. The Foundation of Saint Andrew the First-Called is the organizer of the relics delivery.
Saint Seraphim of Sarov is greatly revered by Greek people. Not only Patras citizens but also believers from other regions of Greece are expected to come to worship the relics.
The delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church was headed by bishop Elijah of Balakhna, vicar of the Metropolia of Nizhny Novgorod. The delegation also included mother superior of the Diveyevo Convent Sergiya along with sisters of the Convent and priests of the Metropolia of Nizhny Novgorod.