His Eminence Metropolitan Demetrius conducted an archpastoral visitation to the Church of St. Irene of Chrysovalantou in Rochester Hills, Michigan, on 30 July/12 August to 31 July/13 August, in conjunction with the parish's celebration of the feast of their heavenly patroness, whose feast day they had observed a few days previous, on 28 July OS. Hierodeacon Benedict, a brother of St. John Maximovich Monastery, accompanied the metropolitan.
On Saturday morning, 30 July OS, His Eminence had a breakfast meeting with the rector and parish council, at which he received a report of the parish's progress over the past year and discussed both plans and concerns relating to the life of the parish and of the metropolis as a whole. Afterwards, the metropolitan graciously made time for private audiences with various of the faithful who came to him for counsel and prayer. On Saturday evening, His Eminence presided over a Vigil service, after which he delivered an exhortation on the spiritual life to the faithful present, who then joined him for light refreshments provided by the parish sisterhood.
On Sunday morning, 31 July OS, His Eminence celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, assisted by the parish rector Priest Steven Allen and Hierodeacon Benedict. Prior to the dismissal of the Liturgy, His Eminence performed the traditional blessing of apples in honor of St. Irene of Chrysovalantou, whose intercessions have worked such numerous miracles for the Orthodox faithful of these latter times. His Eminence was the parish's honored guest at the festive trapeza which followed divine services.
This celebration marked the third anniversary of the founding of St. Irene Church, which originated at the explicit suggestion and with the blessing of His Eminence Demetrius, who is thus not only our parish's present archpastor but also our founder and spiritual benefactor.
When deciding on a name for their new mission, the founding members submitted 26 different suggestions. St. Irene's name was drawn by lot after much prayer, and the parish brotherhood firmly believes that it was our saint who chose us, rather than we who chose her. This knowledge, that we have the special love and patronage of so great and active an intercessor and wonderworker before the Throne of the Lord, consoles and strengthens us immeasurably as we continue the task of founding a community based on a true confession of the Faith and a common striving for life based on Orthodox principles. We have received many blessings in the short time of our parish's existence, palpably through the prayers of our saint.
Fr. Steven and the parish brotherhood once again thank His Eminence, Metropolitan Demetrius, for his kind solicitude for our spiritual welfare, and we pray that, through the intercessions of the great ascetic and wonderworker, Our Holy Mother Irene of Cappadocia, Abbess of Chrysovalantou Monastery, His Eminence may flourish in his apostolic ministry and continue to guide us on the path of salvation.
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