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WASHINGTON, DC: December 19, 2007
Divine Liturgy Precedes a Concert And Exhibit Organized By the Publishing Council of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA

On December 16, 2007, His Grace Bishop Ilarion of Vienna and Austria officiated at Divine Liturgy at St John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC. Joining him in the service were Protopriest Victor Potapov, Rector of the Cathedral; Protopriest Vladimir Siloviev, Chairman of the Publishing Council of the Moscow Patriarchate; Protopriest Nikolai Sokolov, Rector of St Nicholas Church in Tolmchi; and Priest Dennis Bradley of the Orthodox Church in America.

This service led off a multifaceted event organized by the Publishing Council of the Russian Orthodox Church in America, which includes an exhibition titled "The Russian Orthodox Church in the 20 th Century," and the premier performance of "Christmas Oratorio," composed by Bishop Ilarion.

Praying at the service were AS Sokolov, the Russian Minister of Culture and Mass Communications; ES Polishchuk, Deputy Editor of the Publishing Arm of the Moscow Patriarchate; SV Chapnin, Chief Editor of the church periodical Tserkovniy Vestnik and other members of the delegation.

Bishop Ilarion extended the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia to the clergymen and parishioners of the Cathedral, and expressed gratitude to His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, for his blessing to celebrate Divine Liturgy at St John Cathedral.

"We have arrived to the faith from different paths," noted Bishop Ilarion in his sermon. "Yet we are all called upon to pass on to our children the faith which we received from our parents, which they preserved over the course of the difficult 20 th century, we the Orthodox Christians of Russia and those abroad." Bishop Ilarion noticed that a great number of children partook of the Holy Gifts, and said that his prayers are filled with a special joy when the service is attended by children. "They receive a the legacy of eternal life from Christ Himself, and this legacy will strengthen and support them in whatever difficult situation they find themselves," said Vladyka.

Bishop Ilarion expressed special thanks to Fr Victor, noting his efforts as a preacher and leading religious commentator on Voice of America during the years when witnessing the faith in Russia was impossible.

A trapeza luncheon was then served at the parish house, after which the members of the Russian delegation answered questions posed by parishioners on church life in Russia and on inter-Orthodox dialog.

The parish library then received a bound copy of Tserkovniy Vestnik for 2007.