The Orthodox Vespers was celebrated by archbishop Simon during the traditional veneration of the Crown of Thorns of our Lord in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris
On Friday 16 March 2007, during the traditional veneration of the Crown of Thorns of our Lord in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, the office of Orthodox Vespers was celebrated by Russian archbishop Simon of Brussels and Belgium, with the participation of Russian and Romanian Orthodox priests.
At the end of the celebration, sung in Slavonic (Old Church Russian) and French by a Russian Orthodox choir, and during which Fr Serge Model read the Gospel in French, Archbishop Simon expressed the gratitude of the orthodox pilgrims to the cathedral clergy and to the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre for the opportunity to participate in the veneration of the relics of the Passion. Following this the thousands of pilgrims present in the cathedral - both Catholic and Orthodox – from various European countries, had an opportunity to venerate the holy relics of the Crown of Thorns, the wood of the Cross and a Nail of the Crucifixion.
The following day, Saturday 17 March, Archbishop Simon, together with Fr Serge Model and Priest-monk Alexander (Siniakov) celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the chapel of the Dominican centre “Istina” in Paris, in the presence of the Centre’s director, Br. Hyacinthe Destivelle and several Dominican brothers. Archbishop Simon thanked the Dominican community and the College of Saint Basil which it houses for their fraternal hospitality, and promised to return on another occasion.