Moscow, November 29, 2017
The Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church began their work today in the Hall of Church Councils in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. The council’s program includes centenary celebrations of the restoration of the patriarchate to the Russian Church and the enthronement of St. Tikhon as the first new patriarch, which occurred on December 4, 1917 in the Kremlin’s Dormition Cathedral.
In this vein, the hierarchs’ work began with prayer before the relics of the great St. Tikhon of Moscow which were transferred from Donskoy Monastery to Christ the Savior Cathedral specifically for the council, reports patriarchia.ru.
Before the start of the morning’s Divine Liturgy, a new reliquary for the honorable relics of the Holy Hierarch Tikhon, made especially for the centenary celebrations, was placed in the center of Christ the Savior Cathedral. The reliquary had previously been blessed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at Donsky Monastery on November 18, the centenary of St. Tikhon’s election as patriarch.
Following the Divine Liturgy, the meeting of the honorable relics of St. Tikhon, transferred from Moscow’s Donskoy Monastery, was celebrated, his coffin being borne by several bishops and placed into the new reliquary.
Pat. Kirill, concelebrated by several other hierarchs and Moscow clergy, then served a moleben before the relics of St. Tikhon, praying specifically for God’s blessing upon the work of the Council of Bishops.
Following the veneration of the relics, the patriarch addressed those present, focusing on the spiritual importance of the gathering of bishops:
What is happening is, of course, a manifestation of God’s presence in our lives, a demonstration of the strength and glory of God. May God grant that all these majestic signs of Divine grace over us, over our Church, would strengthen us in our daily labors, and in the upcoming labors of the Council of Bishops of our Church. Councils gather to solve together the most important task facing the Church, but a council is also an experience of great power, a spiritual experience, when the hierarchs, praying and working together, realizing the historical responsibility for every word and every action, work together, strengthening the unity of the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
“By the prayers of St. Tikhon, may the Lord Almighty teach, strengthen, and protect the episcopate of our Church, gathered for the Council of Bishops on the eve of the centenary of the restoration of the patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, from all evil,” His Holiness concluded.
Watch below a video of the meeting of St. Tikhon’s relics and the words of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill: