Metropolitan Herman receives Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk and delegation at the OCA Chancery

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman received His Eminence, Metropolitan Kyrill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, Head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow, at the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America here on Saturday, November 15, 2003.

Metropolitan Kyrill, who was accompanied by a delegation representing the Russian Orthodox Church, are in the United States to participate in ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary and rededication of Saint Nicholas Cathedral, New York, NY.

Upon their arrival at the Chancery, Metropolitan Kyrill and his entourage were taken to Saint Sergius of Radonezh Chapel, in which they were welcomed by Metropolitan Herman. They also venerated the relics of the Saints of North America enshrined in the chapel.

“We welcome you, knowing of your busy schedule and many travels, to the Orthodox Church in America during your visit to participate in the anniversary and rededication of Saint Nicholas Cathedral,” Metropolitan Herman said in his words of welcome. “We pray for your health and continued good works for the building up of the Orthodox Church in Russia.”

In response, Metropolitan Kyrill expressed appreciation “for all that the Orthodox Church in America does for the Russian Orthodox Church.

“The Orthodox Church in America is highly regarded by its Russian Sister Church and for the brotherly relations we share,” Metropolitan Kyrill continued. “We celebrate your leadership as one of the Primates of the world’s Orthodox Churches, and we thank you for opening your heart and offering your prayers for the Orthodox faithful of Russia. It is with happiness and joy that we prayerfully share this time with you.”

After the singing of “God grant you many years,” Metropolitans Herman and Kyrill along with His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of New York and New Jersey, engaged in a private discussion on a variety of issues of mutual concern before attending a luncheon with members of the OCA Chancery staff.

Prior to their departure from the Chancery, Metropolitan Herman presented the Order of Saint Innocent, Silver Class, to Metropolitan Kyrill; His Eminence, Archbishop Paul of Ryazan and Kasimov, who for many years had served as Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the United States; His Grace, Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, current Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the United States; and the Rev. Alexander Abramov. He also presented the Order of Saint Innocent, Bronze Class, to the Priestmonk Joseph [Krioukov].

Earlier in the week, Metropolitan Kyrill and his entourage, accompanied by Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor; Mr. Alexis Liberovsky, OCA Archivist, and other members of the Chancery staff, visited “Ground Zero,” the site of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, and offered prayers at the site of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was destroyed during the attack.

Metropolitan Herman was among the hierarchs concelebrating with Metropolitan Kyrill at the anniversary Divine Liturgy celebrated at Saint Nicholas Cathedral on Sunday, November 16.

“New York’s Saint Nicholas Cathedral, a landmark example of classic 19th century Russian ecclesiastical architecture, was built during Saint Tikhon of Moscow’s tenure as Bishop of North America and the pastorate of Saint Alexander Hotovitzky, who later returned to Russia and perished in the gulag in the 1930s,” according to the Very Rev. John Matusiak, OCA Communications Director. “In 1925, the cathedral fell into the hands of the schismatic ‘Living Church,’ which unsuccessfully had attempted through legal means to take over some 115 other church properties in the chaotic aftermath of the Russian Revolution. The cathedral was eventually returned to the canonical Church and has undergone at least two major renovations, in the 1970s and in preparation for the centennial of the cathedral’s consecration.”

Other members of Metropolitan Kyrill’s entourage visiting the Chancery included Archimandrite Mark [Golovkov], the Very Rev. Vsevolod Chaplin, the Very Rev. George Konev, Protodeacon Andrey Paschin, Deacon Andrey Vostrikov, and the Nun Feodora.

In addition to Father Kondratick, other Chancery staff members and OCA representatives present during the visit were the Very Revs. Leonid Kishkovsky; Joseph Fester, and David Brum; Archimandrite Zacchaeus [Wood], Dean of the OCA’s Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine, Moscow; Archdeacon Alexei Klimitchev; Prof. John Erickson, Dean of Saint Vladimir Seminary; Messrs. Martin Paluch, David Wagschal, David Lucs, and John Mindala; and Igumen Joseph [Hoffman].