OF THE DELEGATION OF THE RUSSIAN CHURCH ABROAD TO THE HOLY SITES
OF NIZHNY NOVGOROD, ST. PETERSBURG AND THE KURSK DIOCESE
May 21, the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
Russia headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus arrived in Nizhny
Novgorod, where they were greeted by His Grace Bishop Georgii of
Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamassk.
aim of our pilgrimage is to visit Holy Trinity-St. Seraphim Diveevo
Monastery," said Metropolitan Laurus. "This great saint,
the 100th anniversary of the glorification of whom the believers
in Russia and abroad marked a year ago, and the 250th anniversary
of whose birth will be celebrated this August, is warmly revered
in the Orthodox world."
are happy that everywhere there are churches of God opening, that
the people are striving for spiritual life," remarked His Eminence
Metropolitan Laurus, responding to a question on his impressions
of Russia. "It gives great joy that we are making a pilgrimage
to the holy monastery where St. Seraphim labored. Here we will pray
and have fraternal communion," said Vladyka Laurus.
make this trip on the eve of the great task being undertaken by
both sides, in order to heal those wounds inflicted upon Russian
Orthodoxy through the divisions of the revolutionary era and the
civil war. We hope that the joint work of our committees created
for this purpose will enjoy success and will permit the resolution
of the situation that has developed, and these labors will begin
shortly," said Vladyka.
Arriving in Diveevo, the delegation venerated the holy relics of
St. Seraphim of Sarov, went along the Bogorodichnaya Canal with
His Grace Bishop Georgii and Hegumen Sergii, who all the while--as
prescribed by the saint--read "O Mother of God, Rejoice…"
150 times, and visited the will-spring dedicated to the Kazan Icon
of the Mother of God.
During the festive luncheon organized in honor of His Eminence Metropolitan
Laurus, Bishop Georgi of Nizhny Novgorod and Arzamassk said in part:
"Each Orthodox Russian person holds dear the image of St. Seraphim
of Sarov. This is an image of that person whom each one of us has
the possibility to be, should we free ourselves from passions, and
be transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit. St. Seraphim said:
"My joy, acquire the Spirit of peace and a thousand around
you will be saved." And so here, now, it is necessary for us
to obtain this peaceful spirit and understand that our power is
not in division, but in unity with Christ and with each other."
The following morning, the delegation prayed at divine liturgy and
a moleben to the saint performed by Bishop Georgii and the monastery
clergy. At the end of the service, Vladyka Laurus turned to the
worshipers with warm words of greeting: "I thank the Lord Who
brought me to this holy monastery to pray and prostrate myself before
the relics of Saint Seraphim. Here is the holy soil of Russia. When
after liturgy, they began to sing the akathist to the saint, I remembered
the years of the Second World War, the worst years of suffering
of the Russian people. At this time, young Russian women, sent into
forced labor in Germany, came to the cathedral in Berlin, where
they prayed for Russia and tearfully sang the akathist to St. Seraphim.
For the Russian person there are no borders, no distances, for the
unity of the Russian people is founded on spiritual soil. The rector
of the cathedral at the time was Protopriest (later Bishop Adrian)
Rymarenko, who possessed a part of the relics of the saint and a
portrait of the pleaser-of-God, painted during his lifetime. Now
this portrait is in the USA, at Novo-Diveevo Convent, as one of
the greatest holy items of the diaspora. There, in the outskirts
of New York, the akathist to St. Seraphim is sung according to the
Then His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus presented the abbess of the
convent with a copy of the portrait of St. Seraphim painted during
his lifetime, which is kept at Novo-Diveevo Convent, and to Bishop
Georgii he gave an icon of St. John (Maximovich +1966) the Wonder-worker
with a portion of his relics.
In Nizhny Novgorod, the official delegation met with the Representative
of the President of Russia of the Volga District, S.V. Kirienko,
who told them of his recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he
was warmly greeted by the nuns of the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane
Convents. The Representative of the President also told of the preparations
that went into the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the glorification
of the saint and on the present organization of the forthcoming
250th anniversary celebrations of the saint's birth.
After this meeting, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and the members
of the delegation venerated the grave of Kuzma Minin in the kremlin
of Nizhny Novgorod. Afterwards, the delegation departed for St.
Petersburg, where it was met by Metropolita Vladimir of St. Petersburg
and Ladoga and Archbishop Konstantin of Tikhvin, Rector of the St.
Petersburg Theological Schools. Here the delegation visited the
Kazan Cathedral and the St. Nicholas-Epiphany Naval Cathedrals,
"Savior-on-the-Blood," the chapel of Blessed Xenia and
the stavropighial Convent of St. John, the Gilded Hall of the Metropolitan's
Quarters of St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra, where a festive lunch was
served, offered by Metropolitan Vladimir in honor of His Eminence
In greeting His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir, His Eminence Metropolitan
Laurus gave His Eminence an icon of St. John the Miracle-worker,
Archbishop of Shanghai and San Francisco. At the end of the excursion
to "Savior-on-the-Blood," a part of the delegation, led
by Protopriest Georgii Mitrofanov, visited the Royal Cathedral of
St. Theodore at Tsarskoye Selo, the Alexander Palace and Novodevichiy
Monastery, where they were warmly greeted by Abbess Sofia, who showed
them the Kazan Church and the Convent's holy items, among which
were the vestments of the Holy New Martyr Ilarion (Troitsky), Archbishop
of Verey, in which he was buried.
On May 26, the delegation departed for the Kursk Diocese, headed
by Metropolitan Juvenaly of Kursk and Rylsk, who met His Eminence
Metropolitan Laurus with great amity.
At Znamensky Monastery, Vladyka Juvenaly greeted His Eminence and
gave him a panagia, episcopal vestments, a staff and baculus and
an icon of St. Seraphim. Those accompanying Vladyka were also given
panagias and icons, and the Synodal Protodeacon Eugene Burbelo,
a deacon's orarion. Here the delegation visited the Church of the
Resurrection-St. Ilya, where the parents of St. Seraphim of Sarov
were married, and where they baptised the young Prokhor, the St.
Sergius/Kazan Cathedral built by the labors of the parents of the
saint, Isidor and Agafia Mashnin, "Znamensky Grove" and
Kursk-Root Hermitage, the site of the finding of the Kursk-Root
Icon of the Mother of God.