Moscow, April 29, 2015
On April 24, 2015, the current USA Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation John Tefft together with his spouse visited the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, reports the communication service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR).
At the monastery’s holy gates the distinguished guests were received by Archimandrite Paul (Krivonogov), the Lavra’s dean. During a tour round the monastery the ambassador visited the Holy Trinity Cathedral where the Holy Relics of St. Sergius of Radonezh rest. John Tefft also was shown the refectory church which is unique by the fact that once it was one of the largest buildings of its time that were covered with vaults without intermediate supports; this temple was used for state receptions and festal dinners. In the mid-20th century it was venue for Local Councils and Councils of Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church. Then the guest was told about the Lavra’s belltower and the bells that had been cast especially for it. By the end of the tour around the monastery Tefft visited the Holy Dormition Cathedral and the Godunov family burial vault.
The USA Ambassador has also paid a visit to the Moscow Theological Academy. There the guests were received by Archpriest Alexander Zadornov, pro-rector for the academic and theological work. Then followed a tea party during which John Tefft had an opportunity to learn about the life of the theological academy and seminary and communicated with representatives of the teaching staff.
During an excursion round the Church Archaeological Museum of the Moscow Theological Academy the Ambassador was told about the ever-memorable Patriarch Alexis I (Simansky: 1877-1970), with whose blessing the museum had been restored following the plunders of the post-revolution years, and was shown the late Patriarch’s personal things displayed at the museum.
In conclusion of the visit Archimandrite Paul (Krivonogov) presented the visitors with mementos, particularly with an image of the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra on canvass. In his turn, J. Tefft gave the Lavra some books on the history and culture of the United States.
Throughout his visit to the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra the USA Ambassador was accompanied by DECR staff worker Alexander Ershov.