EKATERINBURG: May 21, 2004


On May 21, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and Their Eminences Archbishop Mark and Archbishop Kyrill and the clergymen-pilgrims arrived in Ekaterinburg. They were greeted at the airport by His Eminence Archbishop Vikentii of Ekaterinburgg and Verkhotursk along with the clergymen of his diocese.

During all-night vigil at the Church-on-the-Blood, the members of the delegation prayed in the lower church at the site of the murder of the Royal Family, where a section was set aside in their honor. At the end of service, His Eminence Archbishop Vikentii, presenting His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus with an icon of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, showed the delegation the church and the holy relics, after which a childrens choir at the church gave a concert of church music, and also of folk songs, after which Metropolitan Laurus and Archbishop Vikentii met with Governor Eduard Rossel.

The following morning, on the day of the Translation of the Relics of St. Nicholas, the delegaton prayed at the Church of St. Nicholas of the menís monastery at Ganina Pit, where the bodies of the bodies of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas, Tsarina-Martyr Alexandra and their innocent children and faithful servants were destroyed after their martyric end. At this site of worship, a moleben was served after divine liturgy, along with a procession of the cross in honor of the Royal New Passion-bearers.

After the holiday trapeza offered by the monastic brethren of the monastery, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and the delegation, along with His Eminence Archbishop Vikentii, headed for Alapaevsk. There the delegation visited Holy Trinity Cathedral, in the lower church of which over the course of 8 months, the relics of the Holy Martyrs Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna and Nun Varvara and those with them were held until they were placed onto a train for Peking along with Hegumen Seraphim, who had once visited the Holy Land with the Grand Duchess at the end of the 19th century, and where she told him she wished to be buried.

In the crypt, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of Western America and San Francisco told Archbishop Vikentii, the clergy and the worshipers of the opening of the holy relics of the saints in Gethsemane, in which he participated while still a hieromonk. The pilgrims then visited Napoliy School, in which the saint and those with her were held prisoner.

Before vigil, His Eminence Archbishop Vikentii performed a moleben at the mineshaft into which the holy martyrs of Alapaevsk were thrown alive. A men's monastery was established here recently in honor of these saints. It is noteworthy that the c monastery church holds another item treasured by the monks: an icon with relics of the Holy Miracle-worker St. John (Maximovich, +1966).

During Sunday liturgy, the delegation, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus prayed at Holy Trinity Cathedral. After the service, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus gave a heartfelt address to His Eminence Archbishop Vikentii and the worshipers. His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus said that His Eminence and all the delegates felt joy and endearment to pray at the holy sites of the suffering and martyrdom of the Royal Passion-bearers, where their podvigs move the souls of the Russian people who visit these sites, who leave with a different state of mind, renewed. His Eminence expressed his gratitude to the Ruling Bishop and his clergymen for the warm reception, love and attention and presented him with a potion of the holy relics of the holy women, and with an icon of St. John, Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco, with a portion of his relics. Archbishop Vikentii blessed the people with this icon and promised that it would be kept in his cathedral so that the faithful who revere this saint from abroad could pray before it and appeal to him for his warm intercession at the Throne of God.

After this the delegation visited the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which never closed during Soviet times. His Eminence gave an interview to the media of the diocese, visited the diocesan publishing house, spoke with the editors of the official diocesan publication and stopped by the diocesan radio station. After lunch at the cathedral residence, the delegation departed for Nizhny Novgorod.