The Synodikon of Orthodoxy
March 8, 2009
The Feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy
The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference
of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
To all the Clergy and the Laity of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas
We, the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, greet you with love and blessings on the Feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the first Sunday of Holy and Great Lent. This year, amidst the tumult and the insecurity that seem to pervade the globe, we exhort all of you to stand firm in your Orthodox Faith in God, the Faith that has established the world, the Faith that is the bedrock of our Holy Church, the pillar and ground of truth (1 Timothy 3:15).
Patriarch Alexy II was writing his diary all through his patriarchal ministry, in autumn 2009 it is going to be conveyed to the museum of Christ the Savior Cathedral and then it will be published, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Publishing Council Archpriest Vladimir Silovyev told Interfax-Religion. "His Holiness the Patriarch's personal notes require further research as Alexy II didn't think they would be exhibited and published," the priest said.
President Dmitry Medvedev and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with the winners of the Prize of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations for 2008 in the Kremlin Patriarch's Palace on Thursday. In the middle of the working day Medvedev came to the Patriarch's Palace to personally meet with the winners - Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, Metropolitan Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, St.Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko and representative of the Bucharest University, Archpriest Stephan Buciu.
Lent was in origin the time of final preparation for candidates for baptism at the Easter Vigil, and this is reflected in the readings at the Liturgy, today and on all the Sundays of Lent. But that basic theme came to be subordinated to later themes, which dominated the hymnography of each Sunday. The dominant theme of this Sunday since 843 has been that of the victory of the icons. In that year the iconoclastic controversy, which had raged on and off since 726, was finally laid to rest, and icons and their veneration were restored on the first Sunday in Lent. Ever since, that Sunday been commemorated as the "triumph of Orthodoxy."
Lent began today for members of the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith, who will now embark on seven weeks of fasting and purification in preparation for Easter. At the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in San Gabriel on Sunday, about 50 parishioners congregated to pray, take Holy Communion.
Italy on Sunday returned ownership to Russia of an Orthodox church named after St. Nicholas in a goodwill gesture toward Moscow and the Orthodox faithful. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev traveled to the southern Italian city of Bari for the hand-over, which was aimed at boosting ties between the two countries and improving often-tense Roman Catholic-Russian Orthodox relations.