Washington D.C., September 9, 2019
More than 300 Orthodox Christians gathered at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington D.C. to greet one of Russia’s most beloved saints—John of Kronstadt.
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Washington, D.C. has a very special relationship with saints bearing the name John.
The parish was founded by St. John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco in 1949, in honor of John the Baptist, and now, America’s first monument to Saint John of Kronstadt has been unveiled and blessed at the cathedral in honor of the cathedral’s 70th anniversary.
Orthochristian previously reported on the nine foot tall statue by sculptor Dimitry Kukkolos, which was donated by Russia's Foundation Under the Protection of the Theotokos, and the Russian National Creative Studio ARTPROEKT. The cathedral rector, Archpriest Victor Potapov, reported that the Russian Aeroflot airlines transported the 1.2 ton statue free of charge, “thanks to a nudge from Russian ambassador Antonov,” and that it passed through customs “like a breeze.”
The statue was dedicated during the 70th anniversary celebration, on Sunday, September 8, 2019, being blessed by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad (ROCOR), His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral). Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov attended the festivities.
Urdupoint.com quotes the Russian Ambassador, and former general, as saying: “The memory of St. John of Kronstadt in the United States is a bright event in spiritual life for all Orthodox Christians in the US.” He called this ceremony another step for consolidation of Russian diaspora. “The Russian Orthodox Church in Russia or abroad, always helped people to keep not only faith, but national heritage, Russian culture, and the Russian language,” Antonov added.
The beloved and greatly respected dean of the cathedral, Mitered Archpriest Victor Potapov, whose English articles are extremely popular on OrthoChristian, was quoted by Blagovest as saying:
“From this day forth, our parish acquired a third heavenly patron with the name of John. The first is the Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John, the second is the Holy Hierarch John of Shanghai and San Francisco, the founder of our parish, and now, the Pastor of all Russia John of Kronstadt.”
St. John of Kronstadt is called All-Russian, as he is associated strongly with many centers of Russian culture, not only St. Petersburg, but also Kiev and Pochaev. St. John was famous for calling all of Russia to repentance in the decades prior to the revolution. The statue depicts the saint in his most iconic form, vested and holding a chalice, calling people to communion with the other hand.