WASHINGTON, DC: February 18, 2010
A Pilgrimage To the Synodal Cathedral and Other News From the US Capital
On February 8, 2010, the parishioners of St John the Baptist Cathedral and from St Nicholas Cathedral (Orthodox Church in America) of Washington, DC, made a one-day pilgrimage to the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York to venerate the honorable head of the great Saint John Chrysostom. Despite the record amount of snow which fell on the nation’s capital (about a meter), 57 persons gathered to set out on the pilgrimage. On the bus heading for New York, the pilgrims prayed together, and learned about the life and works of St John, as they also became better acquainted. The pilgrims were doubly pleased at the Synodal Cathedral, for the church contained not only the honorable head of St John, but also the Hodigitria of the Russian Church Abroad, the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God.
The pilgrims were welcomed by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and His Grace Bishop Jerome. Receiving the archpastors’ blessings, the clergymen of St John the Baptist Cathedral performed a moleben and akathist to St John. The Rector of St John the Baptist Cathedral, Protopriest Victor Potapov, led the service. He was joined by his assistant, Priest John Johnson and Protodeacon John Cavin. The service was sung in two languages, Church Slavonic and English. The pilgrims hastily venerated the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God and the honorable head of St John Chrysostom, and the other relics of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign. Although everyone wished to remain longer and partake of the grace of the relics, they needed to return home before the onset of a second expected snowstorm.
The following day, February 9, the delegation accompanying the head of St John to the US, Mitred Protopriest Mikhail Ryazantsev, Senior Priest of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow; Priest Georgy Kirindas of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Protodeacon Alexander Ageikin of Christ the Savior Cathedral, came to Washington. The delegation was accompanied by Priest Alexandre Antchoutine, Rector of Intercession Church in Glen Cove, NY.
The guests arrived at the nation’s capital in the midst of the second strong snowfall of the season. All government institutions and magnificent museums of the American capital were closed for several days because of the weather, yet the visitors were able to take a tour of the city, visited the Cathedral of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and participated in a reception hosted by the Russian Embassy to the US to mark the Day of the Diplomatic Corps.
Worth noting is the fact that on February 4, the renowned Moscow priest, Protopriest Dimitry Smirnov, President of the Synodal Department on Relations with the Military and Security Services, visited Washington DC. Fr Dimitry is researching Christian pastoral work in the nation’s prisons and participated in the annual prayer breakfast hosted by the White House. Fr Dimitry also visited St John the Baptist Cathedral and met with its Rector, Fr Victor.