On Wednesday the 3rd and Thursday the 4th of August, the parish of the Holy Equal-of-the-Apostles Mary Magdalene in Darmstadt, Germany, celebrated its patronal feast day with particular solemnity. The presence of the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God was a special blessing, as well as the concelebration of two bishops of the Russian Church Abroad.
Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan officiated the All-Night Vigil and celebrated Divine Liturgy on the day of the feast, co-served by Bishop Job of Stuttgart. Serving alongside the hierarchs was Archpriest Konstantine Grinchuk (parish rector) and a multitude of clergy from across the diocese.
In his sermon, Bishop Nicholas noted:
"The Mother of God, as a loving Mother, receives our prayers. So also Saint Mary Magdalene, who also blesses us today. Yesterday I was told that this church – and all of us – stand on Russian soil. But the most important thing here is that the land is hallowed! Because there stands upon it God’s church, the altar, the Sacraments and prayers are performed here, and we take living part in it and are sanctified. God’s grace is here, and we receive forgiveness of our sins and are united with Christ. Indeed, this place is, just as in Jerusalem, holy land for us. That is why today the patronal feast is such a joyous one and, by its nature, a feast of the Resurrection. Because ‘Light hath shown forth from the grave,’ and the risen Savior blesses, comforts, and showed each of us the salvific path to where He is.
"What an edifying day today is for us, and how important the lesson! All around us are disturbances, unpleasantries, lawlessness, and sin. But we are Orthodox people. We rejoice that God is with us. And we must be next to God ‒ there, on Golgotha. Every one of us has his cross. The Lord took His Cross with humility. So also must we carry our cross, which the Lord has given us, with humility and obedience.
"Let us do so, and we will be next to God, and the Lord will be with us. Today we see this vividly. Before us is the Mother of God, before us is St. Mary Magdalene. And they call out to us, brothers and sisters: ‘Be with the Lord!’ And Christ the Savior will be your savior, as well. Amen."