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Divine Liturgy in memory of St Minas the Great Martyr in San Lorenzo di Sedegliano, Italy

On Sunday, 12 November 12, 2023, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Polykarpos of Italy and Exarch for Southern Europe, a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy took place for the feast day of the local Parish which is dedicated to Saint Minas the Great Martyr and Saint Ephraim the New Martyr, known as the Wonderworkers of San Lorenzo di Sedegliano (UD), which is under the canonical authority of the Holy Metropolis of Italy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

The feast day Divine Liturgy was officiated by His Grace Bishop Athenagoras of Thermae, who, representing the Metropolitan of Italy, conveyed respectful greetings and blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Polykarpos, since he could not attend the feast day celebrations and sent his auxiliary bishop as a worthy representative.

In addition to the two parish priests, Protopresbyter Petru Filipescu, rector of the parish, and Protopresbyter Dionigi Vidigh, Father Volodymyr Melnychuk, esteemed parish priest of the Slavonic-speaking Parish of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Udine, also participated, honouring the celebration with his presence.

His Grace Bishop Athenagoras once again honoured the Parish with his visit on the occasion of the patronal feast dedicated to Saint Minas the Great Martyr, as he had earlier in the year attended an event and participated in the celebration dedicated to Saint Ephraim the New Martyr on 5 May 2023. Additionally, the Bishop was also present at an event called “Community in Bloom.” This initiative represents a project of great significance for the local Parish, focused on the implementation of a community garden.

The garden was conceived with the primary goal of making our community self-sufficient and, over time, extending its ability to provide food even beyond the parish boundaries. Cultivation follows the principles of regenerative agriculture, with the essential condition being the abandonment of the use of harmful substances that undermine the ecosystem. Conscious use of all resources provided by nature, such as compost, wood chippings, and straw for crop protection, is paramount. We are also committed to managing soil water resources correctly, using soil responsibly, and preserving the natural balance of the surrounding environment.

During his sermon, His Grace Bishop Athenagoras recalled the commendable efforts of the community in the noble project of the community garden. He also addressed the dramatic event of the natural disaster, the hailstorm that occurred last July, which not only nullified the extensive efforts of the community but also caused significant damage to the building. He detailed the detrimental effects of this adversity, with particular emphasis on the roof damage, a phenomenon that still today causes the infiltration of rainwater into the church, leading to further deterioration.

His Grace Bishop Athenagoras, representing Metropolitan Polykarpos, sought to reassure regarding the firm commitment to support the Parish on the part of the Holy Metropolis of Italy, during this time of need. He conveyed words of comfort and support from His Eminence Metropolitan Polykarpos. His Grace briefly recounted the life and martyrdom of Saint Minas, the Patron Saint of the Parish. In his eloquent discourse, he emphasised how the figure of this Saint, especially in moments of difficulty and discouragement just experienced, continues to preserve his closeness to the community, which has seen with bitterness the strenuous efforts of recent months vanish in a fleeting moment.

The Parish of Saint Minas actively engages in the implementation of the community garden project, which constitutes a direct emanation of the teachings of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Green Patriarch, and the directives imparted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding environmental respect, ecology, and sustainability.

The culmination of the celebrations was marked by the conclusion of the fest, followed by a community feast day meal attended by the Bishop, the Protopresbyters, and the devoted members of the community.


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