I spent my entire life charged with various duties, and I was surprised, especially in the early days of my appointment, that I needed to be honored by other clergymen and laity, and that some felt fear at the presence of a bishop. So becoming a bishop was a revelation to me, and I had to adjust to this way of life.
I stood at one side and marveled at the mosaic shining in the sunlight, the tile-work of the church rising to the sky… St John the Baptist Cathedral in America’s capital was built in the Muscovite-Yaroslavl style of the 17th century, like a carved statuette sitting in the palm of one’s hand. There are only a handful of such churches in Orthodox America. How is it that a church devoted to such a sad event came to be in this intellectual, refined city of Washington?
Once again it’s fall in New York – warm but fresh after the exhausting summer heat. The blue sky pierced by the spire of the new World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. And…an aching feeling in your heart. Ask the locals and you will find that this feeling is familiar to many people in New York. It can’t be forgotten, it can’t be erased from their memory.
As a vicar bishop, I cannot avoid dealing with matters involving youth: to hold divine services and participate in Orthodox youth conferences, give lectures and lead meetings and spiritual discussions. These are all the most common types of missionary events in our diocese.
Many years for His Holiness the Patriarch! Then we went to another room to meet with the Patriarch. We gave the Primate of our Church a large leather-bound album with photographs showing some moments from our pilgrimages and the work our youth has done in renovating holy sites in Russia and abroad. We saw right away that he was genuinely interested in the photographs and the work of our youth. As we approached to receive the Patriarch’s blessing, each of us received a Christmas present and an icon of the Nativity of Christ. We took a photograph together with His Holiness for posterity.
This icon is the contemporary work of Sofrino craftsmen. It is an ordinary lithograph. It had been in the apartment of Muscovite Margarita Vorobyova, where it began to gush myrrh. This happened in 1998, after it had been placed on the relics of the blessed Matrona of Moscow, during her glorification on the 2nd of May. After some time, the icon was miraculously transformed, and now many who have seen it cannot tell that it is a lithograph and not an icon painted long ago.