Bishop Alexander of Vevey Celebrates the Altar Feast of the Pokrov Parish in Zurich
On 1/14 and 5/18 October 2020, Divine Services were celebrated and festivities held in honour of the Altar Feast of the Parish of the Protection of the Theotokos in Zurich, Switzerland. On Tuesday evening at the All-Night Vigil, the parish was visited by Archpriest Mikhail Zeman, rector of the Holy Resurrection Parish (MP), also located in the city of Zurich and with whom our parish has warm relations, who congratulated parishioners on the forthcoming celebration. On the day itself of the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Rector of the Zurich Parish, Archpriest Peter Sturm, celebrated the Divine Liturgy together with Deacon Vladimir Svistun. Despite being held during working hours on a weekday, the festal Liturgy was attended by many parishioners from all over Switzerland, as well as guests living in Germany and Liechtenstein.
By local custom, the feastday in Zurich is translated to the the Sunday following the Feast itself, allowing working parishioners to gather together more easily. Accordingly, with the blessing of the Diocesan Bishop, His Grace Irenei of London and Western Europe, this year, on the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, on which the Holy Church celebrates the memory of the Holy Hierarchs of Moscow, the Zurich Parish was visited by the Vicar Bishop of the Diocese, His Grace Bishop Alexander of Vevey. His Grace, co-served by Archpriest Peter Sturm and Deacon Vladimir Svistun, led the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy.
In his homily, Vladyka Alexander expressed his joy at the opportunity to pray in the Zurich temple. ‘A few days ago you honoured the Mother of God on the very day of the Feast of her Protection,’ the Bishop preached, ‘nevertheless, it is useful and necessary for us to appeal to her Protection constantly and every day. This is especially so in our present moment, surrounded by the confusion caused by the insidious spread of disease.’ His Grace called on everyone to remember that the Mother of God is the intercessor of the entire human race and its foremost Protector at the throne of her Son. After the sermon, Vladyka Alexander congratulated Archpriest Peter on the 25th anniversary of his priestly ordination, conveying to the rector and the parish on this occasion the special blessing of His Grace Bishop Irenei. To the venerable Archpriest was then proclaimed the traditional ‘Many Years!’
After the Divine Service, taking care to comply with all quarantine restrictions, a festive meal was held, during which Fr Peter thanked Vladyka Alexander for the labours he had undertaken in visiting the Parish, wishing him firm health and spiritual strength in the diligent performance of his lofty obedience to the Church. The Rector also expressed many warm words to the large flock who came from all across German-speaking Switzerland to unite in common prayer. During the meal, pupils from the local Sunday school performed a small play.