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RUSSIAN ECCLESIASTICAL MISSION IN JERUSALEM: August 19, 2006
His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus arrives in the Holy Land

On August 18, a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus arrived in Jerusalem. They were greeted at the airport by Hieromonk Andronik (Kotliaroff), Deputy Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, Hieromonk Nicholas (Perekrestov) and the abbesses of Ascension Convent on the Mount of Olives and the St Mary Magdalene Convent in Gethsemane. His Eminence then headed for the Mount of Olives, where he prayed at the chapel where the head of St John the Forerunner was found, and then officiated at all-night vigil on the eve of the Transfiguration of the Lord. At the end of vigil, Abbess Moisseia offered dinner at her residence in honor of His Eminence Vladyka and the visiting clergymen.

The following day, His Eminence headed Divine Liturgy at the Convent, after which he visited the Greek monastery on Mount Tabor and met with His Holiness Patriarch Theophilus III of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine. During the meeting, which was held in a spirit of brotherly love, His Holiness and His Eminence Vladyka Lauruss discussed a series of questions relating to the visit of the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to the Holy Land. A meeting was then held with the monastery's Abbot, Archimandrite Hilarion, who told the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and his companions of the miraculous event that occurs every year on Mount Tabor on the night of the holiday, when an enormous cloud illuminates thousands of pilgrims praying at vigil inside the monastery's walls. This vision is accompanied by frequent flashes of light, which continue until morning.

Bidding farewell to Archimandrite Hilarion, His Eminence then departed for Jerusalem, to the Convent of St Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane, where he prayed in the altar during all-night vigil.