MOSCOW, March 8 – Diplomats and hierarchs from Orthodox countries attended the Feast of Orthodoxy at the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on Sunday. The feast is celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholics of the Byzantine Rite to commemorate the return of icons to the churches.
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill welcomed the ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus, as well as bishops of the Churches of Serbia, Antioch, Alexandria and others. In all, more than 2,000 Christians attended the service.
The Patriarch recalled that the holiday originated in the 7th century, when the opposition to the use of icons was defeated. “Heretic and hysterical appeals are still being made under the disguise of Orthodox purity, but Lord has never offered a choice between his teaching and death, Orthodoxy or death in contrast to heretic preachers,” he said.
Parishes divide sometimes in pursuit of leadership, the Patriarch said. He urged all the Christians to cherish Church unity.