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San Francisco and Western American Diocese: Marh 13 2006

Message from the Secretary of the San Francisco Organizing Committee on participation of the clergy and laity at services and events connected with the IV All-Diaspora Council

Many clergymen and parishioners are asking: "Can we take part in any of the services and activities of the upcoming IV All-Diaspora Council?" Below we offer information on those services and activities which are open to all: the greeting of the Kursk Icon, memorial service for the Ever-memorable First Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, services and banquet.

The All-Diaspora Council will officially open on Sunday, May 7, 2006, at the Holy Virgin Cathedral "Joy of All Who Sorrow" in San Francisco . One hundred thirty-five official delegates from all dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia are expected to attend.

On Saturday, May 6, the greeting of the Wonderworking Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God is scheduled for 4:00 pm at the Holy Virgin Cathedral. At 4:15 pm a memorial service (pannikhida) will be held for the reposed First Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, the Ever-memorable Blessed Metropolitans Anthony and Anastassy, Metropolitan Philaret and the Ever-memorable Archbishop Anthony (Medvedev), followed by all-night vigil (6:00 pm). The vigil will be chanted antiphonally by the Archbishop's Choir and a male choir.

The Divine Liturgy on Sunday, May 7, at 9:45 am, will be celebrated by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, together with the bishops and clergy convened for the Council. Immediately following the Liturgy, a moleben [service of supplication] will be served for the Opening of the IV All-Diaspora Council.

The All -Diaspora Council Opening Ceremony will take place at 4:00 pm inside the Holy Virgin Cathedral. The Ceremony will take place as follows:

A table with an ancient Gospel and Cross will be placed in the middle of the Cathedral. Behind the Gospel and Cross, in front of the ambo, will stand a table for the bishops. The delegates will be seated in a designated area. The Kursk-Root Icon will be brought into the Cathedral and the delegates will rise and sing the Troparion to the Icon. After this the bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia will greet the First Hierarch. The Metropolitan will enter the Cathedral while the St John's Male Chorale chants the bishop's greeting and the Paschal Hymn "The Angel Cried". The First Hierarch will venerate the Gospel and Cross, the Kursk icon, the special icons on the ambo and the relics of St. John , Wonder-worker of Shanghai and San Francisco , and then bless all those present.

The Chairman of the Pre-Conciliar Committee, Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney , Australia and New Zealand , will proceed to the ambo and read a special Gramata (announcement) regarding the opening of the IV All-Diaspora Council and the Metropolitan will declare the Council open. The delegates will sing "Christ is Risen," the Creed and "The Grace of the Holy Spirit." Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America will greet Metropolitan Laurus, archpastors and delegates and then the First Hierarch will read his address.

After the Metropolitan's address, the Chairman of the Pre-Conciliar Committee will read the Instruction to the IV All-Diaspora Council and the decisions of the Bishop's conclave regarding the presidium of the Council and various commissions. Following the reading of official greetings to the Council, during the singing of "Let God Arise" in znamenny chant, the delegates will venerate the Gospel and Cross and greet each other with the Paschal kiss.

The opening ceremony will be open to the public (members of the press need to obtain accreditation from the San Francisco Organizing Committee).

All the plenary sessions of the Council (from Monday, May 8, to Saturday, May 13) will be closed. ONLY official delegates may be present and take part.

The daily Liturgy during the Council is scheduled at 7:30 am. On Tuesday, May 9 a moleben (service of intercession) to the Mother of God and the New Martyrs of Russia (25th anniversary of their canonization) together with an akathist before the Kursk-Root Wonder-working Icon will be served. The singing at the service will be antiphonal (the clergy and Archbishop's Choir). All the services are open to the faithful.

The All-Diaspora Council will conclude its work on Saturday, May 13. At 3:00 pm the Rule before Communion and the akathist to the Mother of God before the Kursk Icon are scheduled, followed by a moleben to Saint John at his relics at 4:15 pm. The vigil is scheduled for 6:00 pm.

On Sunday, May 14, the hierarchal Liturgy at the Cathedral is scheduled for 8:30 am, followed by a Service of Thanksgiving on the occasion of the closing of the Council.

A banquet honoring the IV All-Diaspora Council is scheduled for 1:30 pm. The banquet is open to all. The San Francisco Organizing Committee invites the clergy, wardens, church workers, parishioners, youth, children and all pious Orthodox Christians to attend and thus show their spiritual solidarity and support of Metropolitan Laurus and our Church.

The banquet will be held at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco . Tickets for the banquet (if ordered before April 14, 2006) are $75.00 for adults/$50.00 for children and students. After April 14, 2006, if space is still available, the cost is: $100.00/$75.00. If you have any questions or would like to order tickets for the banquet, please contact Olga Medvedko of the San Francisco Organizing Committee at (415) 286-8801; e-mail: olga_medvedko@hotmail.com ; Olga Medvedko, 236 Milagra Drive, Pacifica , CA 94044 , USA .

For more complete and up to date information visit the All-Diaspora Council web site at: http://www.sobor2006.com (to be launched by the end of March).

Archpriest Peter Perekrestov

Secretary of the Pre-Conciliar Committee
IV All-Diaspora Council
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia