The visit began on Sunday June 13, when Archbishop Demetrios concelebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Church of St. Seraphim of Sarov and Sts. Cyril and Methodios in the city of Bardejov, with His Beatitude Archbishop Christopher of Prague and all Czechia and Slovakia, His Eminence Metropolitan John of Presov, His Grace Bishop Savas of Troas and His Grace Bishop Paisios of Goritze (Poland).
Following the Liturgy, a blessing ceremony for the new church bell tower was held. Later the Mayor of Bardejov Dr. Boris Hanuscak had a very warm welcome and an informative discussion with His Eminence in City Hall. In the afternoon, Archbishop Demetrios accompanied by Archbishop Christopher and Metropolitan John, visited the “Wooden Home,” an important local museum and the small chapel there dedicated to the Three Hierarchs, where a local choir performed religious songs and hymns.
On Monday June 14, the University of Presov bestowed upon Archbishop Demetrios an Honorary Doctorate of Theology during a touching ceremony attended by many members of the academic community of Slovakia, the dean of the School of Theology Rev. Dr. John Zozulak, other officials, faculty members and many students and guests. That evening Archbishop Demetrios paid an official visit to Metropolitan John of Presov and Slovakia at the diocesan headquarters. The two church leaders discussed the challenges the Orthodox Churches face in America and in Slovakia.
On Tuesday June 15, the Archbishop delivered an address as part of the Biblical conference organized by the School of Theology at the University of Presov entitled “The Social Work of the Church.” In the evening the Archbishop at the invitation of Metropolitan John of Presov visited the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky during the vespers service and offered a short address to the congregation.
On Wednesday June 16, His Eminence with Bishop Savas and Archdeacon Panteleimon escorted by Dean John Zozulak and church officials visited three parishes in the towns of Svidnik, Stropkov and Medzilaborce, situated in an area of fierce battles during Word War II. In the town of Medzilaborce the Archbishop visited the Orthodox orphanage of St. Nicholas, which offers a very impressive service to the approximately 80 children enrolled.
Upon his return from this trip Archbishop Demetrios expressed his deep appreciation and high esteem for the people of the Orthodox Church in Slovakia who offer a strong witness of the healing and constructive power of the faith, especially in view of the extremely hard times and persecutions they went through for decades.
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