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Moscow: July 19, 2007
US Old-Rite Clergy Give High Rating To Their Trip to Russia

The delegation of Old Rite clergy in canonical communion with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, completed a week-long visit to Russia, during which they visited the Moscow Kremlin, the Cathedral of of Christ the Savior, the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, and Old-Rite parishes of the Russian capital.

"We were impressed by the amazing rebirth of Orthodox life, obvious in all the places where we had occasion to be. This moved us, on our return to Erie, to convince Bishop Daniel that his fears about continuing communist ideology oppressing the Church were unfounded," as Archpriest Pimen Simon, pastor of the church of the Nativity of Christ in Erie, PA, a member of the delegation, told Interfax on Thursday.

Previously, certain opponents of the reconciliation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the fatherland and abroad had tried to incline Bishop Daniel of Erie, who tends the Old-Rite flock of ROCOR, to head a schism in the Church Abroad and become the leader of a so-called "Temporary Supreme Church Authority of the Russian Church Abroad." Vladyka Daniel himself, however, in June had refuted rumors of his intention to be part of a church schism.

As Fr Pimen informed the agency, after returning from Russia, the members of the delegation told Vladyka Daniel "how much he and Metropolitan Laurus were esteemed by the Old Rite flock there." They also described their Moscow stay in detail, with visits to shrines and contacts with the hierarchy and Old-Rite clergy.

"All these details put Bishop Daniel's mind to rest, and he assured us that he trusts our impressions and is extremely glad to learn that the Church in Russia is experiencing such a wonderful rebirth, and that it respects the Church Abroad," said the priest.

The American Old-Rite delegation, consisting of Fr Pimen, Abbot John (Bersins) and Deacon Hierotheus Popov, concelebrated in churches in and around Moscow with the Secretary of the Commission for the Affairs of Old-Rite Parishes and for Cooperation with the Old Believers, Priest Ioann Miroliubov, with Abbot Irinarch (Denisov) the pastor of the Old-Rite Church of the Archangel Michael in the village of Mikhailovskaya Sloboda, and with the pastor of St Nicholas church in Pokrovskoye, Archimandrite Dionisy (Shishigin).

"All these services brought immense joy to all who were present. We were especially gratified by the fact that in each church, Metropolitan Laurus and Bishop Daniel were commemorated, and Many Years for them was sung," noted Fr Pimen.

The delegation members and the Vice President of the Department of External Church Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate, Bishop Mark of Egoriev, also discussed the details of how Russian Orthodox Church representatives are to take part in the conference on "Orthodoxy in the XXI Century," which is to take place in Erie in June of 2008.

As posted on pravoslavie.ru for July 19, 2007.
Translation by Protopriest John Shaw