NEWS FROM THE DIOCESES
 
SAN FRANCISCO: February 28, 2005

Russian Orthodox Christians of San Francisco Greet Holy Relics from Tobolsk-Tiumen Diocese and Celebrate Namesday and Anniversary of their Archpastor

Photo-report

On Saturday, February 26, the students of SS Cyrill & Methodius High School at the Cathedral of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow" in San Francisco congratulated their Director, Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, on the forthcoming feast day of his heavenly protector, St Kyrill Equal-to-the-Apostles, Enlightener of the Slavs. During the long breakfast-time recess, they sang "Many Years" to His Eminence. On this day, the 50th birthday of their archpastor, His Eminence received 50 balloons, which he then distributed among the younger children.

That same evening, the Cathedral's parishioners and many Orthodox Christians living in the San Francisco area greeted an Icon of Saint John of Tobolsk containing a portion of his holy relics.

When St John of Shanghai and San Francisco (Maximovich, +1966), was tonsured, he was given a new heavenly protector specifically because St John, Metropolitan of Tobolsk and All Siberia the Miracle-worker, was an ancestor of St John, sharing the same surnameóMaximovich. So last year, when the tenth anniversary of the glorification of St John of Shanghai was celebrated, an icon of him was painted with a portion of his relics inserted and given to the city of Tobolsk to be installed at the tomb of his heavenly protector, his ancestor and fellow servant in the harvest-fields of the Lord. This icon was brought to Tobolsk by Olga Nikolaevna Kulikovskaya-Romanova. In return, Olga Nikolaevna brought this icon of the Tobolsk Miracle-worker to San Francisco as a gift from the Tobolsk-Tiumen Diocese. It will remain at the great Cathedral built by the saint's glorified descendant, whose uncorrupted relics reside there. The icon was greeted by a host of clergymen led by His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill, in a Cathedral filled to capacity by worshipers holding candles. Most of the churches of San Francisco canceled evening services so that the clergy and flock could attend the festivities. In accordance with the Cathedral's traditions, a moleben was held at the sarcophagus of St John, but this time it was to two saints: "Holy in Christ John and John pray to God for us!" sang the clergymen fervently, the words repeated then by the magnificent choir under the direction of Vladimir Vadimovich Krassovsky.

The celebrations were already doubled because of Archbishop Kyrill's namesday. So during the polyeleos, the solemn magnification to St Kyrill and St John was sung.

On Sunday, February 27, after Divine Liturgy, a moleben was served to celebrate the namesday of the ruling bishop. At the end of the service, Archimandrite Anastassy, the eldest of the clergyman in attendance, greeted His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill not only on his namesday, but also on his 50th birthday; as Fr Anastassy said, this is a Biblical anniversary, which Vladyka Kyrill had asked not to celebrate out of his profound meekness and humility. The Deputy Senior Sister of the Sisterhood, Klavdia Vasilievna Motovilova, on behalf of the entire Sisterhood of the Cathedral, also congratulated the archpastor on this day.

After a cup of tea organized by the Sisterhood in one of the Cathedral halls, a lecture was read by Olga Nikolaevna Kulikovskaya-Romanova on the life and miracles of St John of Tobolsk, which gave the parish great joy. Olga Nikolaevna also told of the work of the Charitable Fund of Grand Duchess Olga Aleksandrovna, which she heads. At the end of the lecture, those in attendance were given an opportunity to ask questions. Especially interesting was a discussion on the authenticity of the interred remains of the Royal New Martyrs, and on the possibility of the re-burial of the remains of Empress Maria Feodorovna which are now buried in Denmark. In the words of Olga Nikolaevna, her late husband, Tikhon Nikolaevich, a grandson of Empress Maria Feodorovna, was categorically opposed to this. The main reason for his objection to transferring the remains of his royal grandmother to Petropavlovsk Cathedral was because this is not a church now but a museum, where services are allowed by the government only very infrequently.

Thanking the lecturer, we congratulated His Eminence Vladyka again, and again and again send heartfelt greetings on his namesday and his fiftieth birthday!

Protopriest Yaroslav Belikov
Deputy Director of SS Cyrill & Methodius High School