Moscow, December 9, 2019
His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada of the Orthodox Church in America arrived in Moscow on Thursday, December 5 for celebrations surrounding the 25th anniversary of Moscow’s Church of St. Catherine-in-the-Fields as the representation of the OCA to the Russian Church.
Met. Tikhon was accompanied by His Eminence Archbishop David of Sitka, Archimandrite Andrei, Bishop-elect of Cleveland, Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak, first representative to the Church of Russia, Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor of the OCA, and Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak, Secretary to the Metropolitan.
The delegation was greeted at Moscow’s Sheremetevo Airport by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk of the Department for External Church Relations and other representatives of the Russian Church.
The next day, the delegation met with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence at Danilov Monastery.
“There are oceans between our countries, but our sister Churches are very close spiritually, as they belong to the same tradition,” Pat. Kirill said at the beginning of the conversation, recalling the Russian saints who labored in America. For his part, Met. Tikhon noted that the celebrations of the OCA church in Moscow and next year’s 50th anniversary celebrations of the OCA’s autocephaly are landmark events that testify to the spiritual connection between the Churches.
Pat. Kirill also thanked Met. Tikhon and the OCA delegation for the American Church’s support for His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine and the canonical Ukrainian Church.
On Saturday morning, the patronal feast of the OCA St. Catherine’s Church in Moscow, the Russian and OCA primates concelebrated the Divine Liturgy in the church, joined by the other clergy of the OCA delegation and other Russian hierarchs and clerics, as well as His Grace Bishop Anthony of Moravica of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and priests of the Bulgarian, Georgian, and Czech and Slovak Churches.
The Liturgy was celebrated in Church Slavonic and English. Special prayers were read for the unity of the Orthodox Church and the preservation of the Church from divisions and schisms.
Following the service, Pat. Kirill presented Met. Tikhon with a cross and two episcopal Panagias, and a copy of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God.
Addressing both primates, St. Catherine’s rector Archpriest Daniel Andrejuk stated:
It has been 25 years since the representation Of the Orthodox Church in America to the Moscow Patriarchal throne was opened. For a quarter of a century our representation has been an inseparable link with the Russian Orthodox Church. At each service, we offer prayers for our two primates, that the Lord might grant you strength of power and spirit and wisdom in this difficult time, that all of us under your primatial care might serve the Church of Christ and be faithful to it.
Fr. Daniel then presented both primates with icons of St. Catherine and St. John (Maximovitch).
That night, the OCA delegation celebrated the All-Night Vigil at the Church of the “Joy of All Who Sorrow” Icon of the Mother of God with Met. Hilarion of Volokolamsk. On Sunday morning, Met. Tikhon and the OCA delegation celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Church of St. Clement of Rome for its patronal feast.
The service was celebrated in Slavonic, English, and Romanian.
On Sunday night, Met. Tikhon led a symposium on the life of the Orthodox Church in America at the Moscow Diocesan House—the main building of the St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Humanitarian University. The symposium was attended by numerous Russian clergy and other guests.
His Beatitude offered a report on “The Apostolic Work of the Church in North America,” in which he spoke of the internal and external life of the Church, paying special attention to the implementation of the apostolic mission to bring the Gospel to all people, drawing on his book, Of What Life Do We Speak? Four Pillars for the Fulfillment of the Apostolic Work of the Church.
Met. Tikhon focused on issues of the development of the spiritual life, spiritual care, relationships with other, spiritual and educational work, and evangelical preaching.
Archimandrite Andrei then presented, focusing on the Eucharist as the center and apex of the Orthodox life. The final report came from Archimandrite Joseph (Kryukov), the abbot of the Valaam Representation in Moscow, who studied at St. Tikhon’s Seminary in Pennsylvania, focused on the spiritual life of the Church in America based on the experience of the Valaam mission to America in the 18th century.
Met. Tikhon and the other members of the OCA delegation then fielded a number of questions from the audience.
The OCA delegation visited Donskoy Monastery today, where the relics of St. Tikhon, His Beatitude’s patron, are preserved, and enjoyed a free day in Moscow.