The glorification of the ancient saints of the Iberian Peninsula was celebrated by Orthodox hierarchs in Spain on Sunday.
The feast was celebrated in the Romanian Orthodox Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God in Zaragoza, the capital of northeastern Spain’s Aragon region. The Liturgy was headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of Western Europe and the Mediterranean (Romanian Orthodox Church) and concelebrated by His Grace Bishop Nestor of Korsun (Russian Orthodox Chruch), His Grace Bishop Timothy of Spain and Portugal (Romanian Orthodox Church), and clergy from the local diocese of the Romanian Church, reports the site of the Romanian Orthodox Diocese of Spain and Portugal.
More than 200 ancient saints of Spain and Portugal have thus been officially added to the liturgical calendar of the Orthodox Church. They will be celebrated annually on the Sunday before October 12, the day of the commemoration of Our Lady of the Pillar—the name given to the appearance of the Theotokos to Apostle James the Greater as he was praying by the banks of the Ebro at Caesaraugusta (modern-day Zaragoza), Hispania, in 40 AD.
The initiative to add such a feast was made by the Assembly of Orthodox Hierarchs of Spain and Portugal, which met in Madrid in April. The meeting was attended by His Eminence Metropolitan Polycarp of Spain and Portugal (Ecumenical Patriarchate), Bp. Nestor, and Bp. Timothy.
During the assembly’s session, the hierarchs approved of the menologion, or collection of saints’ lives, of the saints who shone forth in the Iberian Peninsula in the pre-schism West, compiled by Archpriest Andrei Kordochkin. As a result, the hierarchs decided to petition the primates of their Local Churches to establish a date for a pan-Orthodox veneration of the host of Iberian saints, and the Sunday before the feast of the Theotokos was chosen.
The day almost marked the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Church of the Dormition in Zaragoza.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the faithful all had the opportunity to venerate an icon and relics of St. Vincent of Spain, who was martyred in Zaragoza in the early 4th century during the persecutions of Diocletian.