From the Editors: As the Church-wide celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasy approach, scheduled for September 4-8, 2013, in Holy Trinity Cathedral in Toronto, the editors of the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia spoke to the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America.
- Your Eminence, what is the significance of the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanovs?
This celebration, just like the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus, is necessary simply because we, loyal children of Russia, both in the Fatherland and in the diaspora, should once again direct our attention to our wealthy history, we must remember the lofty ideals of our ancestors and enrich ourselves both spiritually and intellectually.
In general, it seems to me, the celebration of any important date, as well as the prayerful preparation for it, and the analysis of the event in question, will always lead to renewed strength, to the invigoration of our internal bounties. If we take seriously the preparations and celebration itself, to which the Holy Church calls us, then it will lead to good not only in the life of the Church and society in general, but in the inner lives of its participants.
For this reason, one should not ignore the call of our archpastors and pastors, who wish us spiritual benefit and Divine blessings.
- What do you hope to gain from this celebration?
In addition to the fraternal meeting with archpastors during our regular session of the Synod of Bishops, which will be held in the midst of the celebrations, attending lectures and participating in discussions during the conference of Russian Orthodox society, organized to mark the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty, my heart impatiently awaits the festive divine services in the magnificent Holy Trinity Cathedral in Toronto, and the prayerful veneration of the burial site of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, sister of Tsar-Martyr Nikolai Alexandrovich, who reposed there.
It is worth mentioning that the celebrations will not only be held in Toronto, but in New York, during the December session of the Synod of Bishops, when Her Imperial Highness Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna will make a pilgrimage to the feast-day celebration of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign.” With the blessing and invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Her Imperial Highness already participated in divine services and celebrations in Russia this year, and at the end of the year, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna will visit the Synodal Residence of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, to pray before the great Kursk Icon together with the archpastors, pastors and People of God—before the very same icon that Her great and glorious ancestors venerated. In addition to participating in the feast-day divine services in the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York, and meeting with His Eminence, the President of the Synod of Bishops, and the members of the Synod, Her Imperial Highness will visit holy sites and hospitals, she will meet with clergymen and prominent social figures. In this regard, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna will replicate the pilgrimage made by her father, Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich, who participated in the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus in New York and New Jersey in 1988, when he was received by archpastors of the Russian Church Abroad who have since departed in the Lord, with great honor, love and respect. Our elders of that time, following the example of St John (Maximovich)— my great predecessor in serving the Western American Diocese—deemed Grand Duke Vladimir Kirillovich a uniting figure, a pillar and protector of the Russian people, who found himself abroad and who dreamed of the emancipation of Russia from godless rule. I believe that Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna will receive a similar heartfelt greeting, for, as we know, the veneration of the Royal Dynasty was blessed by our great holy intercessors and ancestors.
May God grant that our conciliar prayers, the communion of the archpastors, pastors and flock, and our joint immersion in the meaning of the celebration, help our renewal for the better.
Personally, I hope that this will give me strength, too, to continue to carry the cross of archpastoral service to God and mankind, and that what I glean from the celebrations I will be able to pass on to my beloved flock.
For this I ask the holy prayers of the readers of our official website!
- May the Lord save you, dear Vladyka!