On Monday, December 3, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, began a one-week official visit to Russia at the invitation of His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksy II of Moscow and All Rus.
Patriarch Aleksy and other representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate welcomed Metropolitan Theodosius at the presidential reception room at Moscow’s Sheremetevo Airport, an honor generally reserved for heads of states, after which the Metropolitan was transferred to his quarters at the hotel adjacent to the city’s Monastery of Saint Daniel.
An extensive program has been planned for Metropolitan Theodosius during his official visit to the Russian Orthodox Church. Highlights include the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the Great Feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple at the Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin on Tuesday, December 4, after which he will participate in the transfer of the relics of Saint Tikhon of Moscow from the new cathedral at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Don to their original resting place in the old cathedral some 400 yards away. [Saint Tikhon served as Orthodox archbishop in North America during the last years of the 19th and the early years of the 20th centuries.] On Tuesday evening, Metropolitan Theodosius will visit the Women’s Monastery of Saints Martha and Mary.
On Wednesday, December 5, Metropolitan Theodosius will visit the Monastery of the Holy Trinity and Saint Sergius in Sergiev Posad, a two-hour drive from Moscow, where he will pray at and venerate the relics of Saint Sergius of Radonezh and Saint Innocent Veniaminov, the latter of whom had served as the first ruling Orthodox hierarch in North America in the 19th century. The Metropolitan will also address the faculty and students at the Moscow Theological Academy, which forms a part of the monastery complex.
Metropolitan Theodosius’ will visit Moscow’s Saint Dimitri Orthodox Orphanage on the morning of Thursday, December 6, followed by a luncheon at the Representation of the Pyukhtitsky Monastery, where he will address Mother Filareta and the sisterhood. Later that afternoon, he will address the faculty and students of Moscow’s Saint Tikhon Theological Institute prior to celebrating the All-Night Vigil at Saint Catherine Church in central Moscow, the Representation Church of the Orthodox Church in America, on the occasion of the parish’s patronal feastday.
On Friday, December 7, Metropolitan Theodosius will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Aleksy at Saint Catherine Church. Later that evening, a reception for Metropolitan Theodosius will be held at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Epiphany.
Metropolitan Theodosius will address the brotherhoods at the Saint Daniel Monastery and the New Monastery of the Savior on Saturday, December 8 before celebrating the All-Night Vigil at the Monastery of the Meeting of Our Lord in the Temple in central Moscow, where he is also scheduled to address the monastic brotherhood. The following morning, he will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy with Patriarch Aleksy at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
From Moscow, Metropolitan Theodosius will fly to Helsinki, Finland, where he will meet with His Eminence, Archbishop Leo, the recently-elected primate of the Autonomous Orthodox Church of Finland. Prior to his departure for New York on Tuesday afternoon, the Metropolitan will visit Helsinki’s Dormition Cathedral.
“Official visitations to sister Orthodox Churches are among the functions of the Primates of an autocephalous Orthodox Church,” notes the Very Rev. John Matusiak, the OCA’s communications officer. “Metropolitan Theodosius hosted Patriarch Aleksy on official visits to the Orthodox Church in America in 1991 and 1993. Such visits affirm the fraternal ties which unite Orthodox Christians throughout the world.”