Moscow, December 5, 2017
The feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, on the day of the centenary of the enthronement of St. Tikhon of Moscow as the first occupant of the renewed patriarchal throne of the Russian Orthodox Church, was solemnly celebrated yesterday in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, gathering primates and bishops from around the entire Orthodox world.
The service was led by His Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II, reports the site of the Russian Orthodox Church, with the new reliquary bearing the relics of St. Tikhon of Moscow placed in the center of the church. The relics were transferred to the cathedral from Moscow’s Donskoy Monastery throughout the proceedings of the November 29-December 2 Council of Bishops.
Pat. Theodoros was concelebrated by the primates and delegations of many other Local Orthodox Churches, including His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of Serbia, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania, His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, His Beatitude Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, His Beatitude Metropolitan Savva of Warsaw, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada, Metropolitan Theodore of Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti of the Georgian Orthodox Church, and Metropolitan Gabriel of Lovech of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
The visiting hierarchs also celebrated the Sunday Divine Liturgy at various monasteries and parishes throughout Moscow.
Yesterday’s service was also attended by the permanent members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and the primates of the autonomous and self-governing Churches of the Moscow Patriarchate, including Metropolitan Daniel of Tokyo, Metropolitan Vladimir of Moldova, Metropolitan Pavel of Belarus, as well as members of the Council of Bishops, members of the delegations of the visiting Local Orthodox Churches, and a number of Moscow clergymen.
During the Small Entrance, the right to wear a second Panagia within their canonical territories was awarded to Metropolitan Daniel of Tokyo and All Japan, Metropolitan Vladimir of Chisinau and All Moldova, Metropolitan Alexander of Riga and All Latvia, Metropolitan Cornelius of Tallinn and All Estonia, Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and All Belarus, Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and All Kazakhstan, Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and All Uzbekistan. Several bishops were also elevated to the dignity of archbishop.
The service was augmented with several prayers of gratitude to God for a century of the restored Russian patriarchate, and of supplication for the strength and peace of the Church through the prayers of the New Martyrs and Confessors who suffered over the past century.
The Epistle of the Holy Council of Bishops to the Clergy, Monks and Nuns and All Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church was read out before Holy Communion.
Upon completion of the Divine Liturgy, Pat. Kirill vested in a replica of the enthronement kukol of Patriarch St. Tikhon, which had been gifted to him by the Holy Synod of the Russian Church on November 20. His Holiness also addressed the congregation with a sermon, highlighting the unity of the Orthodox Church seen in the Liturgy that gathered representatives of so many Local Orthodox Churches from around the world.
“I highly appreciate the brotherly feelings and good wishes expressed, the prayerful support, and the visible testimony to Orthodox unity, so clearly manifested in these blessed days of our fellowship and communion from the same chalice of Christ,” Pat. Kirill stated.
Pat. Theodoros of Alexandria also read out a greeting on behalf of the representatives of the gathered Local Churches.
A solemn reception was held following the Divine Liturgy in the refectory of Christ the Savior Cathedral.