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MOSCOW: March 16, 2012
Moscow’s St Nicholas Church on Bersenevka Honors the Memory of Metropolitan Laurus 

The Church of St Nicholas the Wonderworker on Bersenevka in Moscow was providentially chosen for the prayerful remembrance of the late First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus. Parish rector Hegumen Kirill (Sakharov), was invited for three years running after the death of Vladyka Laurus to the Center of the Russian Diaspora for evening commemorations of the hierarch. These events would give spiritual strength and consolation to those who honor the memory of Metropolitan Laurus. This year, Fr Kirill invited everyone to his own church. On March 16, 2012, at 1:00 pm, Fr Kirill performed a pannikhida according to the old rite at the beginning of the event.

In his sermon, Fr Kirill spoke with specially poignant words about the major milestones in Vladyka Laurus’ life. He spoke about the historical figure in Russian Orthodoxy as well as the dear and kind pastor that he was.

“The fact that this day is being celebrated in our parish church is logical and an honor for us. In 2004, one of the most difficult periods of our existence, Metropolitan Laurus came and supported us and became our Honorary Patron. His prayerful intercession was felt then and even now by us all.  

On May 17, 2007, His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, signed the Act of Canonical Communion in Christ the Savior Cathedral. The two hierarchs then concelebrated Divine Liturgy together, ending the long years of division.

On March 16, 2008, a year after the reconciliation of the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus reposed in the Lord.

There have not been very many hierarchs in the world who had forty years of archpastoral service behind them, and seventy years of the monastic podvig. As in the beginning of his life as a monk, and even until his final days on earth, his even-tempered, meek character imparted, both then and now, peace and quiet joy in even the most troubled of souls.”

Everyone who gathered for the service listened with baited breath to the words of filial love of Hegumen Kirill. The sunlight flooding the frescoes of the ancient walls, the Lenten prayer of those who gathered in this ancient Russian church, all emphasized the solemnity of this commemorative service for this true keeper of Russian Orthodoxy, Metropolitan Laurus. In the dining hall afterwards, in a comfortable, familial atmosphere, everyone shared their memories of Vladyka Laurus for many years, and those who only met him but venerate his memory. With the blessing of the parish rector, Tatiana Vasilievna Filipieva invited people to share their memories and thoughts.   

The visitors came from many of Moscow’s churches, and from St Petersburg and Podmoskovie, and even Fr Germogen of Mount Athos.

Ms Filipievna as well as Sergei Kuznetsov, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Bolshoy Vashington, Alexander Chernavsky, Editor of Rossiiskoye iskusstvo, and other parishioners all contributed to the event.

Alexei Senin, Editor-in-Chief of Russkiy vestnik, Mark Liubomudrov, Vice President of the International Foundation for Slavonic Letters and Culture, Sergei Chesnokov, President of the International Festival in Defense of Traditional Values “For Life,” Oleg Fomin, Editor of the newspaper Vifliemskiy glas, and many others attended this event.