RUSSIA: October 7, 2004

Bishop Michael of Boston continues his visit to the Ekaterinburg Diocese


On Monday, October 4, His Grace Bishop Michael of Boston, Vicar of the Eastern American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, arrived in the Ekaterinburg Diocese on a continuation of his pilgrimage.

Over the three days of his visit, His Grace was able to visit a great many places. Vladyka visited St John the Forerunner and Holy Trinity Cathedrals and the Church-on-the-Blood of All Russian Saints. He visited the churches of the Nativity of Christ and St Matrona of Moscow in Uralmash. He prayed during all-night vigil at the Monastery of the Holy Royal Passion-bearers at Ganina Pit. He became acquainted with the work of the Orthodox High School at All-Merciful Savior Monastery in Elizaveta. He visited St Ignatius Skete of Novo-Tikhvin Convent, where the nuns showed Vladyka their many obediences: icon painting, sewing, publishing, and also an orphanage for girls dedicated to Holy Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna in Shartash. At St Panteleimon Church, the first of some twenty hospital churches of the Ekaterinburg Diocese, Vladyka was told of the social work being done by the Church.

Here, Bishop Michael gave a brief interview to the television program "News of the Diocese," in which he said, in part: "It is very good that social work is being done around the church, with the active participation of the priests. This includes services for drug addicts, which I could not imagine was a problem here. This all very new, constructive, and, I hope, will have a beneficial effect. Let us hope that this will continue for a long time, that it will develop, gather practical experience to grow in its scope.

"Today I saw an orphanage for children from ages two to nine, where they are taken in under incredibly good conditions. The children are given a multi-faceted program of development. This, along with prayer and charity are what draws people in from an early age. Grand God that this area of church service will develop and grow.

"What I saw today made me very happy. Let us hope that this will influence others, especially the children who feel abandoned. The quality of care for children is not as good as it once was, in some places children are simply murdered—an unheard of phenomenon. The rearing of children in the Orthodox family was considered of prime importance. In Russia, this was the very first moral level of responsibility—the raising of a person.

"School, high school, where a fuller, more complete education is givenÉ Those teachers who have a sober approach from teaching the youngest children teach love towards our history and the history of the Russian Church. Teaching is performed in a familial atmosphere, which always draws people near, very important in the process of teaching.

"Seeing the churches of the Urals, I can say that they are much different from those of other regions. Here there is a specific iconographic style, it is Russian, but with a Byzantine sternness. This is not a Hellenic style, it is special.

"This Diocese has a great many concrete activities which are stunning in their beauty and value."

Yesterday, Vladyka visited the Monastery of the New Martyrs of Russia near Alapaevsk, where the earthly life of SS Elizaveta and Varvara met their martyric end, here is the Museum of Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna, and also the crypt near Holy Trinity Cathedral where the bodies of the martyrs were first laid to rest.

The Bishop of Boston was very interested in the activities of the Informational-Publishing Center of the Diocese, which includes a print shop, publishing department, television and radio stations.

Early this morning, Vladyka Michael departed for Nevyansk, and in the afternoon, His Grace will visit Verkhotursk and Merkushino. Vladyka will tell more about his impressions of the holy sites of the Urals on the air via the radio station "Voskresenie" on Saturday, October 9, at 3:45 pm.

Vladyka Michael's visit will conclude on October 10 at 10 am with a procession of the cross with the holy relics of the Holy Grand Duchess Elizaveta Feodorovna and Nun Varvara from Holy Trinity Cathedral to the train station.