The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksy II of Moscow, was the guest of Metropolitan Theodosius of the Orthodox Church in America, on a private visit to the United States, February 10-19, 1996. The Patriarch was here primarily to undergo continuing preventative medical examinations and to rest
This recent visit was not the first time the head of the largest Orthodox Church in the world came to North America. Patriarch Aleksy visited the American Church in 1991 and for the inauguration of the Bicentennial of Orthodox Christianity in North America in late 1993
While in the United States, His Holiness met with several political and religious leaders. In Washington, DC, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Yuli Vorontsov hosted a luncheon at the Russian Embassy on February 13, 1996. That same day, Vice President Al Gore received His Holiness at the White House, where discussions took place on a number of issues, such as the upcoming Presidential elections in Russia, social and religious life since the demise of communism, and Russo-American relations. Members of the National Security Council—Anthony Lake, Steve Pifer, and others—were also in attendance at this meeting
That same day, Secretary of State Warren Christopher received His Holiness at the US State Department. During that exchange, which included other State Department personnel such as Deputy Secretary Strobe Talbot and Ambassador Jim Collins, Chief of the Russian Desk, they spoke about the war in Chechnya, Bosnia, and the ongoing problems the Moscow Patriarchate is experiencing in Estonia
Dr. James Billington hosted a dinner at the Library of Congress with many guests attending from Congress, the Supreme Court, and the religious community
In New York, Patriarch Aleksy met with hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America. The Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, His Eminence, Archbishop Iakovos spent time with the Patriarch in private discussion, as did the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of New York, John Cardinal O’Connor.
Following a private luncheon hosted by His Beatitute, Metropolitan Theodosius, Patriarch Aleksy returned to Moscow on February 19, 1996
Accompanying the Patriarch on this journey were his secretary, Mr. Boris Wic, and his personal aid, Mother Philareta.