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ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA: May 23, 2012
Metropolitan Hilarion Leads a Delegation of the Russian Church Abroad to St Petersburg

On May 21, 2012, a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, accompanied His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to the northern Russian capital of St Petersburg. There they stayed in Novodevichy Convent.

On May 22, the bishops of the Russian Church Abroad and their clerical delegates concelebrated with the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church in St Nicholas-Epiphany Naval Cathedral, where His Holiness officiated at divine services marking the 250th anniversary of the cathedral. After Divine Liturgy, the delegation was invited to participate in a Patriarchal reception at Yusupov Palace to mark the occasion.

That evening, the guests visited Kronstadt, where they viewed the renovated St Nicholas Marine Cathedral. Metropolitan Hilarion and his delegates visited the residence of St John of Kronstadt. Protopriest Svyatoslav Melnik, Rector of St Vladimir Church in Kronstadt then invited the pilgrims to a fraternal trapeza.

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On May 23, the delegation visited the Cathedral of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and Savior-on-the-Blood Church.

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At Bolsheokhtinsky St George Cemetery, Metropolitan Hilarion performed a litany over the grave of Archbishop Dimitry (Voznesensky) of Khailar, who was the father of Metropolitan Philaret, a First Hierarch of ROCOR, after which the entire delegation sang “Eternal Memory” over the graves of the parents of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, Protopriest Mikhail and Raisa Gundyaev, in Church Slavonic and Greek.

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The guests of the Metropoliate of St Petersburg honored the memory of the Russian Church buried in the monastic section of St Nicholas Cemetery of St Alexander Nevsky Lavra, venerating the relics of the heavenly protector of St Petersburg, Righteous Prince Alexander Nevsky, and also visited the Church of St Seraphim of Vyritsk, located in the cell he occupied while living at the monastery.

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His Eminence Metropolitan Vladimir of St Petersburg and Ladoga hosted a reception at his residence to honor the visitors from the Russian Church Abroad and from the Jerusalem Patriarchate. As a token of his gratitude and as a memento of the prayerful celebration of the fifth anniversary of the reestablishment of ecclesiastical unity, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia gave Metropolitan Vladimir a part of the holy relics of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco.

Later that day, the delegation returned to Moscow. Escorting, Metropolitan Hilarion and his fellow travelers to Pulkovo Airport were clergymen and officers of the Metropoliate of St Petersburg.

Also on the trip to St Petersburg were His Eminence Archbishop Innokenty of Vilnius and Lithuania and Mr DI Petrovsky, an officer of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

DECR Press Service