From Monday, February 26, to Friday, March 2, with the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Russia, Abroad, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan made an official trip to Russia. Accompanying His Grace were Archpriests George Zelenin (rector of St. Michael Cathedral in Paterson, NJ) and Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of Long Island & the Hudson Valley).
At the request of Metropolitan Hilarion and with the blessing of His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia, Bishop Nicholas visited the Primatial See of Moscow in order to receive Holy Myrrh for the parishes of the Eastern American Diocese.
His Grace arrived in Moscow on Monday, February 26, where he met with organizers of a pilgrimage Metropolitan Hilarion will soon lead to Russia. The organizers gave Bishop Nicholas a gift of a large, carved cross for the First Hierarch.
Bishop Nicholas and Fr. Alexandre then went to Sofrino, the liturgical supply company. They were warmly met here by the administration, shown the newest manufacturing equipment, and assisted in completing their orders for parishes of the Eastern American Diocese.
On Tuesday, February 27, Bishop Nicholas visited Moscow’s "Vysokopetrovsky" High Monastery of St. Peter, where His Grace viewed the renovation work being done, prayed in its churches, and visited its workshops.
The delegation then traveled to the suburbs of Moscow, where they visited the Sts. Boris & Gleb Stavropegial Convent in Anosino. They venerated its relics and enjoyed a luncheon hosted by the convent’s abbess and the serving Priest George Kirindas. Afterward lunch and brotherly interaction with Fr. George, Bishop Nicholas and those with him continued further on their trip, where they made several planned private visits.
On Wednesday, February 28, with the blessing of His Grace Tikhon, Bishop of Yegoryevsk, Bishop Nicholas and Fr. Alexandre visited the Skete of Sretensky Stavropegial Monastery three hours outside of Moscow, in Ryazan Oblast. The seminarians of Sretensky Seminary traditionally spend their first year at the skete, where they study, perform obediences, and participate in the divine services. This year, 38 young men are enrolled in the first year, including Peter Antchoutine, Fr. Alexandre’s son.
The seminarians were eager to meet with Bishop Nicholas. Arriving in the early afternoon, His Grace shared a luncheon with the students. After a prayer, the long-awaited meeting of the hierarch and seminarians took place. The seminarians posed a wide variety of questions, touching on both ecclesiastical and private life. After a long discussion, Bishop Nicholas and the seminarians went to the skete’s church for a short service, followed by a general photograph. Bishop Nicholas was then given a tour of the buildings and classes as the seminarians returned to their work. After dinner, His Grace and Fr. Alexandre returned to Moscow.
On Thursday, March 1, the delegation visited "Tserkovnye tkani," a liturgical supply store, where Bishop Nicholas selected new vestments for St Vladimir Memorial Church to the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus’ in Jackson, NJ, and was acquainted with the store’s wares.
The delegation then headed for "Danilov" St. Daniel Monastery, the Synodal residence of His Holiness, Patriarch Kyrill. Having presented the proper documentation, they received Holy Myrrh for the parishes of the Eastern American Diocese. The necessary paperwork for export was prepared, after which Bishop Nicholas and Fr. Alexander headed for Holy Epiphany "Yelokhovo" Cathedral. Here, Archpriest Alexander Ageykin, the cathedral dean, welcomed them. After venerating the relics of the Holy Hierarch Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow, Bishop Nicholas serve a panihida at the tomb of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow & All Russia, also commemorating Metropolitan Laurus and others.
The delegation then visited Holy Great-Martyr Catherine Church in Vspolye, the official representation of the Orthodox Church in America to the Patriarchal Throne. Archpriest Daniel Andreyuk, newly appointed representative of the Orthodox Church in America to the Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow, greeted the visitors. After venerating the holy relics of the church, they met for a friendly discussion in Fr. Daniel’s office.
On Friday, March 2, Bishop Nicholas and the delegation visited Christ the Savior Cathedral, where they shared a lunch with its dean, Archpriest Michael Ryazantsev.
Returning to New York City on Saturday, March 3, Bishop Nicholas presented Metropolitan Hilarion with the Holy Myrrh and delivered a report on his visit.
Additional translation by the Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese