MOSCOW: December 28, 2010
“A Visit of Love” (On the Youth Pilgrimage of the Russian Church Abroad)

From December 22-29, 2010, St Tikhon Orthodox Humanitarian University hosted a delegation of youth from various dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. The group is headed by the Vice President of the Synodal Youth Department, Protopriest Andrei Sommer, the Senior Priest of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York. The trip was organized to mark the 90th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

This is not the first trip of its kind. Since 2007, the Synodal Youth Department has traveled to Russia with almost 100 young men and women from the diaspora.

The youth spent two days on excursions in Moscow and had several meetings. Immediately after their arrival and a meal, they headed for MV Lomonosov Moscow State University, where they read lectures at a session of the “Faith and Deeds” youth program. Their presentations were the finest of the competing entries of youth from abroad. They discussed the history and current state of parishes, dioceses, missionary work, youth ministry, social programs and a great deal more. Some speeches were read in English and concurrently translated into Russian. These presentations drew a great deal of interest, exposing many previously-unknown facets of life in the Russian Church Abroad. Each speaker answered questions, after which a general discussion ensued, and the young people were able to socialize with their Orthodox counterparts from Moscow afterwards.

The following day, the youth visited Donskoy Monastery. They toured the grounds, after which a moleben was served in the Great Cathedral before the relics of St Tikhon, headed by the University Rector, Protopriest Vladimir Vorobiev. In his sermon, Fr Vladimir talked about the life of Patriarch Tikhon, the witness he bore and his invaluable podvig for the benefit of the Church. Afterwards, everyone venerated the cathedral’s relics, and the delegation went to the cemetery, where a litany was performed in memory of Archimandrite Daniel (Sarychev), Protopresbyter Alexander Kiselev and his matushka Kallista, the philosopher Ivan Ilyin, the writer Ivan Shmelev, General Vladimir Kappel, a hero of the White Movement, and others buried there.

The University’s guests also viewed the ancient Russian icons at the State Tretyakov Gallery. The busy day ended with a visit with His Grace Bishop Panteleimon of Orekhovo-Zuevo, President of the Synodal Department of Charity and Social Work of the Moscow Patriarchate. Vladyka spoke of activating in practice a Christian’s love not only for God but for neighbor. He reminded the youth that it is active love that imparts joy in God and for each other, towards which we must all strive. Answering questions, the renowned Moscow cleric noted that “the Christian is an alien everywhere,” no matter if he lives in Russia or in distant lands. Because of his “foreignness,” his incompatibility with the life of this world, he will always find himself beset with problems, and that there is nothing terrible nor surprising about that.


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