Tbilisi, December 11, 2018
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), the head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), arrived for a working visit in Georgia yesterday and met with the His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia at his residence in Tbilisi.
At the request of the Georgian primate and with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, a portion of the relics of the Venerable-Confessor Schema-Abbess Fomar (Mardzhanova) were gifted to the Georgian Orthodox Church.
St. Fomar was a Georgian abbess who had also labored in Russia. She was canonized by the Georgian Church in 2016 and officially added to the Russian calendar among the New Martyrs and Confessors in December of last year. Her relics were solemnly uncovered at the Vvedenskoe Cemetery in Moscow in June and transferred to the St. Seraphim-Znamennky Skete, founded by St. Fomar.
Her holy relics were festively greeted at the patriarchal residence by Pat. Ilia and other hierarchs and clergy and monastics of the Georgian Church, with a short moleben being served before her relics.
A meeting was then held between Met. Hilarion and Pat. Ilia and six other hierarchs of the Georgian Church and a number of Russian and local clergymen.
His Holiness Pat. Ilia conveyed words of warm gratitude to Pat. Kirill for the precious gift of the relics of St. Fomar, whose life, as he noted, was closely tied to both the Georgian and Russian Churches. He also expressed his conviction that her prayers can be a great aid in strengthening the fraternal ties between the Russian and Georgian peoples.
In turn, Met. Hilarion noted that St. Fomar had served as an abbess in Georgia, in the Bodbe Monatery, and in Russia, in the Moscow Holy Protection Monastery, and that she is greatly revered by the faithful among both peoples.
“Today we glorify the Venerable-Confessor Fomar as the Heavenly protectress of both our Churches and both our peoples. I would like to express the hope that the prayers of this saint will accompany us in our joint efforts for the benefit of holy Orthodoxy, will unite our peoples with that spiritual bond that passes through the human heart and overcome all earthly borders and will preserve us not only this earth but in the Kingdom of Heaven,” the DECR head said.
A conversation was then held on topical issues of inter-Orthodox relations and the guests from the Russian Church were invited to a fraternal meal, after which they returned home.
The monastery was closed in 1924. In 1931, she was arrested and sentenced to exile in the Irkutsk region with two sisters of her monastery. After the end of her exile, already seriously ill with tuberculosis, she returned to Moscow, and on June 23, 1936, she departed to the Lord.
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