Warsaw, May 15, 2023
“The day of May 14, 2023, will be written in gold letters on the pages of the history of the Orthodox Church in Poland and our motherland,” reports the Polish Orthodox Church.
“After more than 10 years of difficult efforts for permission to erect an Orthodox Church in Warsaw, and less than 8 years after the dedication of the cornerstone, thanks to the loving help of the Creator, as well as the many titanic efforts of His Eminence Metropolitan Sava, the consecration of the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Warsaw was celebrated.”
The new cathedral, based on the iconic Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul, is the first Orthodox church to be built in Warsaw in a century. And in accordance with the decision of the Council of Bishops of the Polish Orthodox Church, the consecration of the cathedral inaugurates the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the autocephaly of the Polish Church.
The consecration also coincides with the 25th anniversary of Met. Sawa’s assumption of the primatial throne.
“In the heart of Europe, in the church of Hagia Sophia, the sound of bells and the Orthodox Liturgy ring out to the glory of the risen Lord.”
The church was created as a monument and tribute to the victims of deportation, camps, Operation Vistula, the demolition of Orthodox churches in the Chełm region and Podlasie, the September campaign, the Warsaw Uprising, as well as children from the Orthodox orphanage in Warsaw’s Wola District murdered in 1944. “In this way, the walls of this church will forever bear witness to our ancestors, who often shed their blood for fidelity to Orthodoxy and love for their native land,” the Church writes.
The consecration was celebrated by the Polish primate Met. Sawa together with all the hierarchs of the Polish Church and clergy from throughout the country. Enough pilgrims came to fill the church to overflowing.
The relics of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem and the Child-Martyr Gabriel of Białystok.
In his homily following the Gospel reading, His Eminence Archbishop Jerzy of Wrocławsko and Szczecińska referred to the day as a triumph of the martyric path of Orthodoxy in Poland, which lost about 200 churches but today is recovering thanks to the efforts of Met. Sawa.
In turn, at the end of the service, Met. Sawa expressed his gratitude:
Personally, together with all those who joined in prayer, I thanked God for the 85th anniversary of my earthly journey, full of many experiences, and 25 years of service as the head of the Orthodox Church in Poland. Today I thank God for everything and today is a joyful day for me in the midst of these experiences.
On behalf of the Council of Bishops, His Eminence Archbishop Abel of Lublin and Chełm presented His Beatitude with a set of liturgical vestments and an album dedicated to his activities.