Strasbourg, May 11, 2013
On May 10, 2013, in the Church of St. Trоphimus, which is situated in a small French town of Eschau just near Strasbourg, a Liturgy was served for the first time and the Cross procession was held in commemoration of the translation of relics of Holy Martyrs Faith, Hope, Charity and their mother Sophia from Rome to Eschau. That event took place on May 10, 777. Bishop Remigius of Strasbourg, who had founded a convent in Eschau, asked Pope Hadrian I to give him these relics. The convent was destroyed several times. The most ancient sections of the main church, build in the Romanesque style, date back to the 10th century. During the Reformation, monastic life here was abolished and St. Trophimus became a parish Church. During the French Revolution late in the 18th century, the holy relics disappeared. It is supposed that they are still concealed somewhere in Eschau. At present the historical shrine that had contained these relics for 400 years is kept in the St. Trophimus Church, and it still preserves a small portion of the relics of St. Sophia. Another Christian relic—a small portion of the True Cross —is kept here as well.
The day before the commemoration of the translation of the relics, the Vigil service was celebrated in the stavropegic parish of All Saints in Strasbourg (the Patriarchate of Moscow). Especially for participation in the services dedicated to commemoration of these martyrs, pilgrimage groups from Russia, the Ukraine, Germany and France had arrived to Strasbourg, reports the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Strasbourg. After the Liturgy in Eschau, the traditional Paschal Cross procession was held.
The Rector of the All Saints' Church in Strasbourg Hegumen Phillip (Riabykh), the Rector of the Church of Sts. Cyprian and Justina in Frankfurt Archpriest Nicolai Sudosa, the Rector of the Life-Giving Trinity Church in Starye Cheryomushki (Moscow) Archpriest Nicolai Karasev, and the clergy of All Saints and the Life-Giving Trinity Churches celebrated the service.
The Rector of All Saints Church in Strasbourg Hegumen Phillip (Riabykh) in his sermon said: "This is the first time that our parish has arranged a service on the day of translation of the Relics of Sts. Faith, Hope, Charity and Sophia from Rome to Eschau. For very many people this date still remains absolutely new, but there are many feasts associated with translations of relics in the Church calendar. One of the most famous is the feast of translation of the Relics of St. Nicholas the Wonder-worker from Myra to the Italian town of Bari. I hope that our local celebration which has already gathered many faithful will contribute to its widespread practice. With God’s help, we will celebrate services in Eschau on May 10 every year."
Father Philip told the pilgrims about the plans of the building of the Church and the parish centre in Strasbourg that would become a place of bearing witness on Orthodoxy and Russian cultural tradition in the city where European institutions are located.
The choir of the Kiev Theological Academy and Seminary which has come to Strasbourg with the blessing of Metropolitan Antony of Borispol, chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Patriarchate of Moscow, and the choir of the Life-Giving Trinity Church in Starye Cheryomushki sang the services.