On Saturday 25 January, Reverend Fr. Daniel Lugovoy (from Johannesburg) officiated at the Service of the Holy Eucharist followed by a Memorial Service to commemorate the Blockade of Leningrad at the Metropolitan Church of Saints Raphael Nicholas and Irene, in the presence of His Eminence Archbishop Sergios, Consular General Vlacheslav Levine and Consul Alexander Goryachev.
His Eminence addressed the congregation after the service to welcome them and thanked Father Daniel for visiting Cape Town and Durban on a regular basis to hold services. He congratulated the new choir and said it is encouraging to see their participation in the services. He also commended the ladies who are starting the Russian language school for children which will be taking place at the new Orthodox Centre and pledged his support to all the Russian speaking Orthodox members of the Diocese of Good Hope.
An exhibition of photographs (which are replicas of a permanent exhibition of paintings housed at the Museum in Saint Petersburg) was held at the Archbishopric to commemorate this historical event, and after the service, Consul Goryachev gave a talk about the history of the Blockade .
He said that the Siege of Leningrad, also known as the Leningrad Blockade was a prolonged military operation undertaken by the German Army against Leningrad, in the Eastern Front of World War II. The siege started on 8 September 1941, when the last road to the city was severed. Although the Soviets managed to open a narrow land corridor to the city on 18 January 1943, the siege was finally lifted on 27 January 1944, 872 days after it began. It was one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history and overwhelmingly costly in terms of casualties.