13 April 2007, 15:36
First Easter service held at the Russian Orthodox church under construction in Rome
Moscow, April 13, Interfax - The first Easter service was held at the Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Holy Martyr Catherine, which is being built in Rome.
On Easter Saturday, April 7, which is also the Day of the Annunciation this year, priest-monk Philip Vasiltsev, president of St. Catherine's foundation, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in this church and blessed Easter cakes.
Orthodox people and members of Russian diplomatic missions in Rome kept coming to the church through the day. Over one hundred worshipers attended the Easter service.
After the service, a common festive meal was held for the first time at the assembly hall of the church under construction, the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate reports.
Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's department for external church relations, conducted the Lesser Consecration of the church on May 19, 2006. Sunday services have been held in it on a regular basis since last October. This year, worship services were conducted every day on the Lenten first and Passion weeks.
St. Catherine, to whom the church is dedicated, is equally venerated by the Orthodox and Catholics.
The need to build the first Orthodox church in the Eternal City, where many martyred, is due to the fact that there are many Russian Orthodox faithful residing in Rome.
The first attempt to build an Orthodox church in the Italian capital city was made in the late 19th-early 20th century on the initiative of the rector of the Russian Embassy's church and with support of the Russian royal family. But the 1927 Revolution prevented the plan from being realized.