Restoration of Canonical Unity within the Russian Orthodox Church. Celebration in Dioceses Outside of Russia

At the blessing of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and all Russia, an official delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church, headed by His Eminence Isidore, Metropolitan of Ekaterinodar and Kuban, will be participating in a celebration of the restoration of unity in the Russian Orthodox Church.

The delegation, which includes the Sretensky Monastery Choir, will be participating in Divine Services in churches and monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. These guests from Russia will be carrying a holy miracle-working icon treasured by all Orthodox Christians—the “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God.

The delegation will also be participating in the celebration of the forty-year anniversary of the hierarchical consecration of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of New York and Eastern America and First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.

The Sretensky Monastery Choir’s program includes Divine Services in Jordanville, Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Washington D. C., San Francisco, Melbourne, Sydney, Geneva, Berlin, London, and Paris. They will also be appearing in foremost concert halls of these cities with their choral program entitled “Masterpieces of Russian Choral Music.”

The miracle-working “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God

The miracle-working “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God The miracle-working “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God
The miracle-working “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God

The miracle-working “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God was found the same day on which Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II abdicated the Russian throne— March 2/15, 1917. The Russian Orthodox people accepted this occurrence as a witness that the ultimate authority over and care for Russia had passed to the Heavenly Queen Herself.

On Febuary 13, 1917, the Most Holy Mother of God appeared in a dream to the peasant girl, Eudocia Adrianova, and spoke to her these words: “There is a large, dark icon in the village of Kolomenskoe. It must be taken from there; the people must pray.” On February 26, in a second dream, the girl saw a white church and a majestic Lady within it. The peasant girl decided to search for the church she had seen in her dream. On March 2 in the village of Kolomenskoe, near Moscow, she recognized the Church of the Lord’s Ascension as that very church. A diligent search by the girl and the church’s rector revealed a large, dark icon of the Mother of God—the very image that had revealed itself to Eudocia in her dream.

The icon quickly came to be venerated as miraculous; many copies were painted of it, and it was taken to all the surrounding villages, monasteries, churches—even factories— throughout Moscow, and molebens were served. A service and akathist were written at the blessing and with the participation of Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow and all Russia. (Another service composed by V. V. Bogoroditsky was published later in Jordanville Monastery.)

The icons’ name corresponds to its iconography. The Theotokos is represented as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Dressed in a green gown and red garments reminiscent of an imperial mantle, She is seated upon a throne, her right hand bearing a sceptor, her left hand resting upon the monarchical orb. Upon Her head is a crown encircled by a golden halo. The Infant Christ sits upon her knees, His right hand raised in blessing, His left hand pointing towards the monarchical orb.

It is thought that the “Reigning” icon, painted in the 18th century, was earlier located in the Ascension Convent of the Moscow Kremlin, from which it was taken to Kolomenskoe during the Napoleonic invasion of 1812.

After the bolshevik revolution in 1917, the Ascension Church was closed; the icon and other holy objects from that church were taken to various storage rooms of the State Historical Museum, where they remained for seven decades.

The miracle-working icon’s return corresponded significantly with Russia’s liberation from the yoke of the godless regime. At the end of the 1980’s, through the efforts of Metropolitan Pitirim (Nechayev) of Volokolamsk and Yuriev, and of Archimandrite Innokenty (Prosvirnin), the icon was taken quietly upon orders from the director of the museum, K. G. Levykin, to the publishing department of the Moscow Patriarchate, and kept for several years in the altar of the house church dedicated to St. Joseph of Volokolamsk.

On July 27, 1990, at the blessing of His Holiness Alexei, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Orthodox clergy and faithful of Moscow triumphantly carried the icon to Kolomenskoe to be placed in the Kazan Church, which was not closed. The icon was installed at the right cliros. Since that time, every Sunday, the akathist hymn composed under Patriarch Tikhon’s patronage has been read before the miracle-working icon of the “Reigning” Mother of God.

Moscow Sretensky Monastery Choir

In 1994 the monastery was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church, at which time the Sretensky Choir was organized. The Choir sings the Divine Services several days per week in the Monastery church, using ancient Byzantine and Russian chants. It frequently participates in the Services celebrated by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexei II in the Dormition Cathedral, located in the Moscow Kremlin.

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Outside of its participation in the Divine Services, the Choir has an active concert life both in Russia and abroad, in which it performs favorite Russian folk songs and romances that reflect old cultural traditions and a «great Russian soul». It has performed in Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, the UNESCO Hall, the Vatican Hall Auditorium, and the Russian House in Belgrade. It also participated in the First International Choir Festival in St. Petersburg, June, 2007.

Its members are an integral part of the monastery community, a fact which influences the repertory and the style of its interpretations. The choir’s artistic director and conductor is Nikon Zhila, a graduate of the Russian Gnessin Academy of Music.

Schedule of Divine Services in celebration of the restoration of fellowship within the unified Russian Orthodox Church

September 1, Saturday, New York
6:00 pm – All-Night Vigil Service at St. Nicholas Cathedral on E. 97th Street

September 2, Sunday, New York
10:00 am – Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral on E. 97th Street

September 3, Monday, Jordanville
9:00 am – Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Monastery

September 5, Wednesday, Boston
3:00 pm – Commemoration Service for archpriest Roman Lukianov at the Church of the Epiphany

September 7, Friday, Toronto
6:00 pm – All-Night Vigil Service at The Holy Trinity Cathedral

September 8, Saturday – Meeting of the Icon of Our Lady of Vladimir, Toronto
9:00 am – Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Cathedral

September 9, Sunday, Chicago
10:00 am– Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Holy Virgin Protection

September 10, Monday, Washington, D. C.
6:00 – All-Night Vigil Service at the John the Baptist Cathedral

September 11, Tuesday – The Beheading of St. John the Baptist, Washington, D. C.
9:30 – Divine Liturgy at the John the Baptist Cathedral

September 15, Saturday, San Francisco
5:00 pm – Paraclis at the relics of St. John of Shanghai
6:00 pm – All-Night Vigil Service at the Cathedral

September 16, Sunday, San-Francisco
9:00 am – Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral (with the local choir)

September 20, Thursday, Dandenong (Melbourne)
6:00 pm – All-Night Vigil Service at the Church of the Dormition

September 21, Friday – Nativity of the Theotokos, Melbourne
9:00 am – Divine Liturgy at the new Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection

September 22, Saturday, Sydney
6:00 pm – All-Night Vigil Service at the Church of the Holy Virgin Protection in Cabramatta

September 23, Sunday, Sydney
9:00 am – Divine Liturgy at the Peter and Paul Cathedral

September 26, Wednesday, Geneva
All-Night Vigil Service at the Elevation of the Cross Cathedral

September 27, Thursday, Geneva
Divine Liturgy at the Elevation of the Cross Cathedral

September 29, Saturday, Berlin
Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ

September 30, Sunday, London
Divine Liturgy at Cathedral of the Dormition

October 3, Thursday, Paris
Moleben, Notre Dame de Paris

World Tour Schedule
For complete tour information, please visit http://www.sretenskychoir.com/

New York Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 8pm
Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center

Boston Thursday, September 6th, 2007 at 8pm
Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College

Toronto Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 8pm
Toronto Centre for the Arts

Chicago Sunday, September 9th, 2007 at 7pm
Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center

Washington, DC Wednesday, September 12th, 2007 at 8pm
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress

San Francisco Friday, September 14, 2007 at 8pm
Davies Symphony Hall

Melbourne Friday, September 21, 2007 at 8pm
St Paul’s Cathedral

Sydney Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 5pm
Sydney Town Hall

Geneva Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 8:30pm
Grand Casino

Berlin Friday, September 28, 2007 at 8pm
Berliner Dom

London Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 7pm
Cadogan Hall

Paris Thursday, October 4, 2007 at 7pm
Notre Dame

10/5/2007

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