On May 7, the Sunday of the Paralytic, St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC, greeted for the first time ever a distinguished guest from Africa – His Grace Athanasios, Bishop of Kisumu & All Western Kenya (Patriarchate of Alexandria).
With the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, Bishop Athanasios celebrated Divine Liturgy alongside His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah, and the cathedral clergy, led by parish rector Archpriest Victor Potapov.
Prior to the start of Liturgy and under the peal of bells, cathedral warden Dimitry M. Zaretsky greeted His Grace with bread and salt, and offered warm words of greeting. Singing Liturgy were the cathedral’s two choirs. The church was filled to capacity with worshippers, who communed from four chalices. Prior to the dismissal, Bishop Athansios delivered a heartfelt sermon on the Gospel theme of the Paralytic.
After the service, Metropolitan Jonah warmly greeted the guest from Africa. Fr. Victor presented Bishop Athanasios with an icon of the Holy Hierarch John of Shanghai & San Francisco, founder of St. John the Baptist parish in the American capital.
During the bountiful festal luncheon organized by the cathedral sisterhood, Fr. Victor once more greeted the first-time guest and asked him to speak about his far-flung diocese in Western Kenya, which includes 300 parishes nourished by 100 priests.