His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, venerated the historic wonderworking icon of Our Lady of Vladimir in the Church of Saint Nicholas on the grounds of Moscow’s renown Tretyakov Museum on Saturday, December 8.
The icon, which had been removed from the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin and placed in the museum during the Soviet era, is now housed in the church on the museum’s grounds, in which the faithful are once again free to pray before it.
Metropolitan Theodosius also venerated the famous icon of the Old Testament Trinity by Saint Andrew Rublev, still displayed in the Tretyakov.
Earlier the same day, Metropolitan Theodosius visited the Monastery of Saint Daniel, where he visited several churches and chapels and venerated the relics of Saint Daniel, and the New Monastery of the Savior. The same evening, Metropolitan Theodosius celebrated the All-Night Vigil at the Monastery of the Meeting of Our Lord in the Temple, where he was welcomed by Archimandrite Tikhon and the monastic brotherhood. Metropolitan Theodosius presented the monastery with relics of Saint Herman of Alaska, while Father Tikhon presented the Metropolitan with relics of Saint Hilarion Trotsky, whose relics are enshrined in the monastery’s main church. Metropolitan Theodosius complimented on the enthusiasm displayed by the monastic community, especially in the area of publishing and printing.
On Sunday morning, December 9, Metropolitan Theodosius concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksy of Moscow and All Rus; and several other hierarchs in the massive Christ the Savior Cathedral.
“What a joy and privilege and also a reminder of what the envoys of Holy Prince Vladimir must have felt when they first beheld the Divine Liturgy as it was celebrated in the great Hagia Sophia in Constantinople,” Metropolitan Theodosius told Patriarch Aleksy following the Liturgy. “However, the splendor we have experienced this morning in the Divine Liturgy celebrated within the magnificent beauty of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior can only begin to approximate the splendor and glory, the joy and ecstasy that await those who are faithful to the Lord on earth; those who will be called to share in His glory in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Metropolitan Theodosius also used the occasion to formally thank Patriarch Aleksy for his hospitality throughout the week-long official visit to the Russian Orthodox Church.
“As I prepare to return tomorrow to the United States, I do so with renewed appreciation for the relationship which exists between the Church of Russia and the Church in America,” Metropolitan Theodosius said. “We look to the Orthodox Church of Russia as our Mother—for it was from her that we received the Faith as it was first proclaimed in North America by the monastic missionaries who traveled from Valaam in Lake Lagoda to the far lands of Alaska. But we also, and now more realistically, look to the Orthodox Church of Russia as our sister Church—an elder sister whom we love and esteem.
“Our mission is one and the same: to proclaim the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world that is deeply troubled, greatly hurting, greatly in need of the comfort and consolation which only Jesus Christ can give,” Metropolitan Theodosius concluded. “As I leave Russia tomorrow, I do so with a renewed prayer, the prayer that by our common efforts—the work we do together, though in different lands and in varying circumstances—the Lord will draw all people to come to the knowledge of His Truth. And that, receiving this Truth, the world may be transformed into the fullness of the Kingdom that even now is breaking in upon it.”
Patriarch Aleksy presented the Order of Saint Innocent of Moscow, First Degree, to Metropolitan Theodosius. Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor was presented with the Order of Saint Innocent of Moscow, Second Degree.
On Monday, December 10, Metropolitan Theodosius and his entourage left Moscow for Helsinki, Finland, where they met with the newly-elected Primate of the Autonomous Finnish Orthodox Church, His Eminence, Archbishop Leo.