Moscow, November 16, 2014
During the visit of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to Serbia on Saturday, November 15, a memorial plaque in Sremski Karlovci was blessed in honor of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), whose 150th birth anniversary had been celebrated on March 29, 2013, reports the Synodal Information Department.
The plaque has been installed on the gates of the Patriarchal palace in Sremski Karlovci which was given in 1921 by the Serbian Orthodox Church for the use of Russian hierarchs and was used as the residence of the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia until 1946.
With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, the blessing of the memorial plaque was headed by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR). Archbishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe (ROCOR), Bishops Chrysostom of Zvornik-Tuzla and Vasilije of Sremski (the Serbian Orthodox Church), Rector of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Belgrade Archpriest Vitaly Tarasyev, and the DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk took part in the ceremony as well.
Before the beginning of the blessing ceremony a prayer service was performed at the St. Nicholas Cathedral after which Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk delivered an address to all those gathered:
Your Eminences, All-Venerable Fathers, dear brothers and sisters!
We have gathered here today in order to commemorate one of outstanding Russian hierarchs of the 20th century: Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), whose 150th birth anniversary was celebrated last year.
The personality of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), a zealous archpastor, an eminent thinker, and inspirer and mentor of academic monasticism, has a special place in the history of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The final 15 years of Metropolitan Anthony’s life till his death in 1936 were spent here, in Sremski Karlovci, where he had been invited by His Holiness Patriarch Dimitrije of Serbia (1846-1930) along with other Russian hierarchs-refugees. Patriarch Dimitrije with love gave them this splendid building of his Patriarchal residence. In this regard it would be appropriate to recall the God-inspired, wise words of Solomon: “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).
Here, in Sremski Karlovci, the tragic events were echoed that had happened nearly 100 years ago in Russia and led to the fratricidal civil war and division within the Russian Orthodox Church. Now these events are passed history. We continuously thank God for His mercy revealed in the restoration of canonical unity inside our Church. And we will never forget the feat of active Christian love as well as the cordial hospitality of the Serbian Orthodox Church: It again in these days was among those who heartily welcomed and supported the process of reunion between the Russian Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate, making for the success of this historic initiative.
The memorial plaque which is being unveiled today and has been produced through the efforts of the Russian St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation, is not only a tribute to the memory of Metropolitan Anthony, but also a monument of the fraternal love that has united the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches for many centuries.
Eternal and blessed memory to the wise Archbishops of Pec, Metropolitans of Belgrade and Karlovy Vary and Patriarchs Dimitrije and Barnabas of Serbia! Eternal and blessed memory to His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony! Kindest regards to His Eminence Bishop Vasilije of Sremski, residents of Sremski Karlovci and all the children of the Holy Serbian Orthodox Church for their sincere love for their brothers from Russia!”
The memorial plaque to the First Hierarch of ROCOR, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), has been installed in Sremski Karlovci on the initiative of the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation.
The memorial plaque has been produced according to the design of the famous sculptor from Belgrade Zlatko Kuzmanovic, who made a bas-relief of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), a copy from the portrait painted by the Russian émigré painter G.I. Grinkevich-Sudnik. The memorial plaque’s inscription says: “To the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky). March 17 (29), 1863-July 28 (August 10), 1936.
On the pole to the right of the entrance a memorial plaque of the same size, dedicated to the king of Yugoslavia Aleksandar I Karađorđević (1888-1934), is installed.