BISHOP MAXIM'S FIRST PASTORAL VISIT TO MEXICO
Mexico City, Mexico - His Grace Bishop Maxim of Western America made his first official and historical visit to the Orthodox faithful in Mexico April 26- 29, 2012, together with V. Rev. Blasko Paraklis. They arrived in Mexico City on Friday, April 26, 2012. The pastoral-episcopal responsibility of the bishop of Western America to the Serbian residents living in Mexico is expressed in the decisions of the Holy Assembly of Bishops.
In an effort to preserve the gathering and meetings with our Orthodox compatriots during the Pascal period, a great help was Bishop Alejo (Exarch of the Orthodox Church in America – OCA) who showed his unselfish support, inviting Bishop Maxim and showing him the hospitality of Abraham. Through the goodness of Bishop Alejo, there were two liturgical encounters at the Cathedral church of the Ascension of our Lord on Saturday and Sunday. His diocese is celebrating their fortieth anniversary (www.ocamexico.org).
As Bishop of Western America and representative of the Serbian Orthodox Church for the Diaspora, Bishop Maxim met with the Minister of Religion and Diaspora. Our fellow Serbs living in this city and the surrounding areas were informed that the Divine Liturgy would be served in the coming days in Serbian.
The Orthodox residents of Mexico have three bishops: Athenagoras of the Greek Church, Anthony of the Antiochian Church and Alejo of the OCA. There is also a Russian monastery under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church. The total number of Orthodox who live in this country whose population is in the millions, is unknown but it is calculated to be around 50,000. Orthodoxy has a future here only if it frees itself of the “jurisdictional” ties.
During this visit, Abraham, a native of Mexico and a student of the St. Tikhon's Academy, served as their guide. The first day, April 27 was very dynamic. Bishop Alejo welcomed the guests at midnight at the airport and the following day he showed his guest the cathedral church and the central part of Mexico City, the sights, fortresses and museums. Bishop Alejo is a wonderful man and bishop who is characterized by his humility, love and care for his neighbor. He is surrounded by young clergy, of Mexican background; and the guests were housed at his sister Julia's house who prepared chicken tortillas for them on their first day.
Zoran Stanojevic, Serbian ambassador to Mexico, was unable to join the bishop during this first historic visit due to health reasons, but he was able to inform the Serbian population of the bishop's visit. On Friday evening the bishops visited the Antiochian Archbishop Anthony who at one time, in the fifties of the last century, studied in Greece with our Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory.
Bishop Maxim served on Saturday with a number of clergy at the OCA cathedral. Due to conflicting schedules Serbs were not able to attend but he was able to meet with them on Sunday, thanks to the Russian hieromonk Nektarije who invited the Serbs he knows and they promised that next time they would come in even bigger numbers.
On the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers the Divine Liturgy was served at 10am. At the end of the liturgy the local bishop, Bishop Alejo gave to Bishop Maxim as a gift a Gospel in Spanish while Bishop Maxim, in return, gifted his host with a Panagia and order of St. Sava.