SIMFEROPOL: July 18, 2016
Bishop Thedosius of Seattle Participates in Feast-Day Celebrations at SS Kosma and Damian Monastery in Crimea
His Eminence Metropolitan Lazar of Simferopol and Crimea celebrated festive Divine Liturgy on Thursday, July 14, 2016, at SS Kosma and Damian Monastery in Crimea. He was joined by His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, Vicar Bishop of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, along with clergymen from the Alushtinsk, Simferopol and Saky Deaneries of the Crimean Diocese, as well as monks in the priestly rank.
After a moleben and procession of the cross that followed, Metropolitan Lazar addressed the enormous gathering of pilgrims who came from all corners of the nation to visit this blessed site with a sermon: “Dear Reverend Prior and Brethren of the holy monastery: I express my heartfelt greetings on this day, in which we commemorate the Holy Unmercenary Miracle-workers Kosma and Damian, the feast day of this monastery. These holy righteous men of God lived almost two thousand years ago during the vicious persecution of Christians. They were physicians, and for their fervent faith and fearless preaching, for the unpaid healing of the suffering, they were granted the gift of performing miracles. They were like lanterns of the Christian faith, whose light brought many to receive Christ.
During the short but glorious period of their earthly service, the holy brothers developed abundant fruits of piety. Towards the glory of the Kingdom on High, these great miracle-workers remain even today as “merciful to all,” empathetic to people’s sufferings and sorrows. These select of God constantly pray to the Heavenly Father to bestow mercy upon wayward mankind, they show us examples of true love for God and one’s neighbor. For love is the “queen of virtues and greatest of medicines!”
It was this life-enhancing sense that helped these two young Christians, SS Kosma and Damian, to heal the bodies and souls of all who turned to them, granting them victory over disease and death, to rise above all, even their own martyric death.
Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord: I once again congratulate you on the feast day of this great monastery. As the Ruling Bishop of Simferopol and Crimea, it is a great joy for me to see how this monastery has been transformed. Ancient monastic traditions are being reborn here, a multitude of pilgrims once more gathers here, seeking spiritual guidance and support, knowing full well that their faith will be answered.
I believe that this monastery has always been and will always be important for Orthodoxy on the Crimean Peninsula. For this is a special place, infused with prayers. On this great day, I wish the brethren and novices here God’s abundant help in the worthy following of Christ, success in your monastic labors to the benefit of your monastery and for all who visit. I also wish the flock success in their efforts to do good, and to thank God for His generous blessings, and to always remain in peace and concord. May God’s blessing be upon you all!
Then, Vladyka Theodosius, speaking a few warm words of congratulations to His Eminence, the monastics and pilgrims, gave Metropolitan Lazar the Order of St John (Maximovich), 2nd degree, with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America.
Vladyka Lazar expressed his heartfelt thanks to Vladyka Theodosius for his attentions and the lofty award, and said about St John: “This holy man of God carried out his Apostolic service on the cathedra where the Lord deemed you to serve as Vicar Bishop. I take this as a great honor. The works of St John were truly great: he was an exemplary hierarch and missionary. Even during his earthly life he was endowed with sagacity and the ability to perform miracles.”
Metropolitan Lazar then gave His Grace a painted icon of St Luke of Simferopol and Crimea, a great saint and professor of medicine, doctor and miracle worker, and wished Vladyka Theodosius the perpetual aid of this holy hierarch in all his labors and efforts towards good.
Official website of the Diocese of Simferopol and Crimea of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.