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An Orthodox Church dedicated to St Patrick may be built in Moscow

It has been reported in Moscow that a church dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland may be opened in Moscow. At an ‘Ireland-Russia’ roundtable meeting in Moscow on 15 March, Fr George Zavershinsky, who was the Russian parish priest in Dublin for eight years, said that this was his hope.

Fr George was speaking about the spiritual characteristics of St Patrick, which organically link him with Orthodoxy. Fr George, the new director of the communications service of the Foreign Relations Department of the Patriarchal Church explained that: ‘For the moment no Moscow church is dedicated to St Patrick, but there is no reason why this should not come about in the foreseeable future’.

Fr George said that the Canonisation Committee of the Russian Orthodox Church is to examine the question of including the saints of Ireland and Britain, who flourished before the tragic eleventh-century schism, in the Russian Orthodox calendar. At present they are commemorated collectively by the Russian Orthodox Church, but Fr George is hoping that Sts Patrick, Brendan, Columba, Brigid of Kildare and other saints of Ireland and Britain will be included in the calendar by name and by individual feast-day. Fr George said that he did not know when this would happen, but that progress was under way.

It is heartening to see that the many decades of the once unrecognised missionary efforts of the multinational Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) are now being recognised in Moscow. These efforts belong to the decades when ROCOR was isolated from the Patriarchal Church in Moscow, which at the time was captive to the Soviet government.

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