Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg, Russia to Visit United States in Conjunction with Return of Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God

- As a final step in the return of the wonder-working Tikhvin icon of the Mother of God, His Eminence, Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg, Russia will arrive in the United States on Monday, June 14, 2004 as the guest of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America.

“The Tikhvin icon, which tradition ascribes to the hand of the Evangelist Luke, was originally enshrined in Jerusalem and later Constantinople,” according to the Very Rev. John Matusiak, OCA Communications Director. “In the late 14th century it miraculously appeared in northern Russia, where it was venerated for centuries in the Dormition Cathedral of the Tikhvin Monastery. After World War II, the icon was brought to the United States by its guardian, the late Bishop John of Riga, Latvia [who was subsequently named Archbishop of Chicago]. After Archbishop John’s repose in the early 1980s, the Very Rev. Sergei Garklavs, the Archbishop’s adopted son, became the icon’s guardian. It was Archbishop John’s wish that, once conditions changed in Russia, the icon would be returned to its original home in Russia.”

On July 8 and 9, 2004, Archbishop John’s wish will be fulfilled as His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksy II of Moscow and All Russia, Metropolitan Herman, Metropolitan Vladimir, and numerous hierarchs, clergy and faithful will witness the icons return to the Dormition Cathedral in the Tikhvin Monastery.

Upon his arrival in the US, Metropolitan Vladimir will be greeted by His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of South Canaan on behalf of Metropolitan Herman, and members of the OCA Chancery staff. That evening he will meet with Metropolitan Herman and His Beatitude, Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine.

On Tuesday, June 15, His Grace, Bishop Mercurius of the Patriarchal Parishes in the US will host Metropolitan Vladimir and his entourage at a luncheon in New York prior to the latter’s departure for Cleveland, OH, where His Eminence, Archbishop Job of Chicago and the Midwest and the Very Rev. John Zdinak, Midwest Chancellor, will welcome the Russian delegation. Later that evening, Metropolitan Vladimir will be the guest of honor at a dinner with Cleveland area Orthodox and ecumenical leaders, slated to be hosted by Mr. Alex Machaskee, Publisher of the “Cleveland Plain Dealer.”

On Wednesday, June 16, Archbishop Job will host Metropolitan Vladimir and his entourage at a breakfast with Cleveland area Orthodox clergy at Archangel Michael Church, Broadview Heights, OH, after which the Metropolitan will visit several area parishes. After a luncheon hosted by Mr. Michael Herzak, Metropolitan Vladimir will continue his tour of area churches.

Metropolitan Vladimir will arrive in Chicago on Thursday, June 17, where he will be hosted by Archbishop Job. That evening, he and his entourage will be the guests of Archbishop Job at a dinner with area clergy at the Midwest Diocesan Center.

Metropolitan Herman will join Metropolitan Vladimir, Archbishop Job, and His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada on Friday, June 18. After a noon luncheon with area clergy at Saint Joseph Church, Wheaton, IL, the Akathist Hymn in honor of the Tikhvin icon will be celebrated. Later that evening, Vigil will be celebrated at Chicago’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, followed by a reception and dinner in honor of Metropolitans Herman and Vladimir, will be held in the cathedral annex.

On Saturday morning, June 19, the hierarchs will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy and a Service of Thanksgiving in honor of the icon at Holy Trinity Cathedral, followed by a festive luncheon. That evening, the delegation from Tikhvin will be the guests of Father Garklavs and his family at a farewell dinner. The following morning, June 20, Metropolitan Vladimir and Archbishop Job will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy at the cathedral. Later that afternoon, Metropolitan Vladimir and his entourage, together with Bishop Seraphim, several OCA Chancery staff members, and a 12-member delegation from Tikhvin, will accompany the Tikhvin icon on its flight to Riga, Latvia.

The 12-member delegation, headed by the Abbot of the Tikhvin Monastery, will arrive in Chicago on Friday, aboard a private plane sent by the government of the Russian Federation for the icon’s return to Russia.

The Tikhvin icon will be venerated in Riga from Monday, June 21 until it is transferred to Moscow two days later, where it will be venerated at Christ the Savior Cathedral. Patriarch Aleksy and Metropolitan Herman will receive the icon in the cathedral, Russia’s largest, and concelebrate the Vigil.

On Monday, June 28, the icon will be transferred to St. Petersburg, from which it will be taken to the Tikhvin Monastery on July 8 and 9 for the celebration of the icon’s feastday, during which it will once again be enshrined in the Dormition Cathedral.

Full coverage of the Tikhvin icon’s historic return will be available on the OCA web site at and in the August/September issue of “The Orthodox Church” newspaper.