Archpastoral Visit of Metropolitan Moses to St. Irene of Chrysovalantou Parish in Metro Detroit, Michigan
With the blessing of our ruling hierarch, Metropolitan Demetrius of America, Metropolitan Moses of Toronto made an archpastoral visitation to the parish of St. Irene of Chrysovalantou on the 17th, 18th, and 19th of October NS. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the founding of our community, and therefore the visit of His Eminence was as timely as it was joyful.
On Saturday afternoon, His Eminence observed classes in Orthodox catechism and English rhetoric at the Holy Wisdom Academy, a four-hour program conducted by members of our community on Saturday afternoons throughout the school year in rented classrooms at Rochester College in Rochester Hills. The Holy Wisdom curriculum currently consists of instruction in Classical Greek and Latin, Modern Greek and Romanian, English grammar and rhetoric, and Orthodox catechism, for students in grades K through 12. Metropolitan Moses kindly expressed great appreciation for the efforts of Headmaster Dr. Leonidas Pittos and the Academy's co-founders Drs. Adrian and Ecaterina Cretu along with our entire staff, and he exhorted us to continue our struggles for the restoration of the traditional methods of Orthodox, Greco-Roman education. We pray that with the guidance and prayers of our archpastors, our current enrollment of 22 students will grow over the years to come, along with the expansion and improvement of our program.
His Eminence presided at Vespers on Saturday evening and at Orthros on Sunday morning in our temporary chapel at Rochester College, and he celebrated the hierarchical Divine Liturgy assisted by our rector, Fr. Steven Allen. Though this was our parish's first experience of a hierarchical Liturgy, all went smoothly with God's help, and the Liturgy was orderly and prayerful, thanks to a great extent to veteran leadership for the chanter's stand and the altar servers. Protopsaltis Leonidas Pittos led the chanting, and Reader Marjan Radevski knowledgeably assisted His Eminence and directed our novice altar servers in a dignified and joyful hierarchical service.
Following the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence conducted the Ninth Day Trisagion Prayers for the repose of Mrs. Marianthi Vassileiou, wife of our beloved brother Mr. Athanasios Vassileiou. May her Memory be Eternal! Metropolitan Moses delivered a heartfelt and consoling sermon following Divine Services. He reminded us of our great responsibility to labor for the success of St. Irene Church, pointing out that we have the unique duty and opportunity to bring True Orthodoxy to our area, and that the opposition and difficulties that we endure are sent by the Lord for our salvation and the salvation of souls.
Later on Sunday afternoon, we enjoyed a fellowship meal presided over by His Eminence at Benny's Restaurant in Shelby Township. Benny's owner, Mr. Sarandos Lazaris, has been very gracious over the past year in enabling us to offer affordable monthly dinners for parish fellowship and fundraising. Mr. Lazaris' grandparents were instrumental decades ago in the founding of St. Spyridon Church in Detroit, and we rejoice that he is following in their footsteps in supporting the mission of True Orthodoxy in our area. 50+ of the faithful participated in the Divine Services and the agape meal, and we pray that this number will increase over time, by the prayers of our faithful hierarchs!
On Sunday evening, there was an intimate and informal gathering of parishioners and interested guests at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Polichronis Ikonomou. Metropolitan Moses led a discussion ranging over such topics as the struggle for Orthodox family life in current social conditions, the role of our ancestral cultures in preserving our Faith, and how to attract others to our parish through a witness of love and virtue. Everyone present came away consoled and inspired to renew our commitment to the Faith and to our local Church community. On Monday, His Eminence traveled to Hillsdale, Michigan, to visit Fr. Steven and his family in their homes, and to attend Vespers on Monday night at the home of Reader George Allen and his wife Irene. Fr. Steven, the Parish Council of St. Irene Church, and all of our parishioners wish to offer heartfelt thanks to His Eminence Moses for his archpastoral zeal and care for us, and we pray that the Lord bless him for many years in his sacred apostolic ministry!
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