JORDANVILLE, NY: July 18, 2005

Students of Holy Trinity Seminary Complete Their Pilgrimage to Russia

A group of students and graduates of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, headed by its Assistant Dean, Deacon Vladimir Tsurikov, visited Russia from June 18 to July 2 in order to venerate the holy sites of the Russian Orthodox Church. This pilgrimage was undertaken with the blessing of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexy, and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, with the financial assistance of the president of the Sputnik Group, BA Jordan.

This trip was made possible by the contact established between the theological schools of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. The invitation to travel to Russia to become acquainted with the life of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate was extended by the Rector of Moscow Theological Academy, Archbishop Evgeny of Verey, during his visit to Jordanville in October 2004.

The schedule, which was entirely filled, had as its first stop a visit to the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra and the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary (MTAS).

June 18: The guests attended all-night vigil at Holy Protection Church at Moscow Theological Academy, after which His Eminence Archbishop Evgenii, Rector of Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary, offered them a welcome dinner.

June 19: The guests attended Divine Liturgy and vespers at the Lavra’s Holy Trinity Cathedral on Pentecost. After the service, Deacon Vladimir greeted His Holiness Patriarch Alexy on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, and offered a copy of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, the holiest icon of the Russian diaspora, to the head of the Moscow Patriarchate.

That same day the pilgrims visited the churches of the Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra and the archives of the Ecclesiastical-Archeological Department of the Moscow Theological Academy. The students from Jordanville visited with teachers and students of Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary during their visit to these insitutions.

June 20: The pilgrims visited the holy sites of Pereslavl-Zalessky, Rostov the Great, and Tolgsk Monastery.

June 21: The pilgrims attended Divine Liturgy at St Theodore Cathedral on the feast day of the Yaroslav Icon of the Mother of God, at which His Eminence Archbishop Kirill of Yaroslavl and Rostov officiated. In Yaroslavl, the guests visited the Theological Department of Yaroslavl Pedagogical Institute. That evening the pilgrims returned to Moscow and stayed at Sretensky Monastery, where the Prior, Archimandrite Tikhon (Shevkunov), greeted them warmly.

June 22 and 23: The pilgrims visited the holy sites of the capital.

June 24-27: The pilgrims traveled to Solovki. The veneration of the New Martyrs of Russia, many of whom were martyred at the concentration camp at Solovki, is particularly profound in the Russian diaspora. Many teachers of Holy Trinity Seminary studied under Professor I.M. Andreevsky, a former prisoner of the Solovki camp, a living witness of martyrdom for faith. For this reason the pilgrimage to Solovki was one of the key elements of the trip.

June 25: The visitors traveled to the island of Anzer, where Hieromonk Evfimy, a faculty member of the Moscow Theological Academy, served a moleben before the relics of St, Job of Anzer with the participation of the pilgrims.

June 26: The guests attended the Divine Liturgy served by the Superior of Solovki Monastery, Archimandrite Iosif. At the end of Liturgy, the pilgrims, holding icons, participated in a procession of the cross.

June 28: Upon their return to Moscow, the pilgrims visited the New Jerusalem Monastery.

June 29-30: The group visited St. Petersburg and Pavlovsk.

July 1: Upon their return to Moscow, the pilgrims met with faculty of St Tikhon Orthodox Humanities University, and its Dean, Protopriest Vladimir Vorobiev. That day the visitors met with the editors of My ["We"], a publication of the students of the MTAS.

For the students from Jordanville, who were visiting Russia for the first time, this trip became an important step in acquainting themselves with a country they had hitherto known only through books. It is hoped that this pilgrimage will help them understand that only fraternal communion between the members of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia will provide a basis for future constructive cooperation between the two parts of the Russian Church.

Deacon Vladimir Tsurikov