MOSCOW: February 1, 2012
Vladimir Yakunin Awarded the Synodal Order of the Sign, 2nd Class

On February 1, 2012, the President of the Fund of St Andrew the First-Called, Vladimir Yakunin, was awarded one of the highest honors offered by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Synodal Order of the Sign, 2nd Class. The ceremony took place in Moscows Pokrovsky Church in Marfo-Mariinsky Convent.

Before the ceremony, a moleben was performed, after which His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York gave Vladimir Ivanovich the medal. His Eminence Metropolitan Kirill of Ekaterinburg and Verkhotursk was also in attendance as well as other members of the Fund of St Andrew the First-Called.

Metropolitan Hilarion said the following:

On behalf of the Synod of Bishops, I wish to express my genuine, profound gratitude to you for your good works, for your efforts with the Fund of St Andrew the First-Called, to the benefit of the Russian people, for the good of the Holy Church. Your good deeds include the restoration of this holy convent. You have traveled with holy items for the spiritual strengthening of our Orthodox people. We thank you for your work with our youth, for helping in the organization of the 12th All-Diaspora Russian Orthodox Youth Conference.

In response, Mr Yakunin had the following to say:

My good friends have gathered here today, the members of the Fund of St Andrew the First-Called. Each of them has accomplished a great deal, not because someone instructed them to do so, but because they themselves sense the importance of these efforts. From this point of view, I receive this award with great trepidation and a sense of duty, because it was in this very church that four years ago I had the honor of giving the Medal of St Andrew the First-Called to your predecessor, Vladyka Laurus. At the time we discussed how every person can apply his efforts to make a great contribution to the common good, which was also marked by the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion. Our first joint project was arranging a tour of the relics of Holy Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Nun Barbara. This was the first joint effort that unified the Russian people living in Russia and abroad. After this, there was a cruise to mark the reestablishment of historic truth regarding the events of 1917. It is here, in Marfo-Mariinsky Convent, restored through our common efforts, and where the medal was awarded to His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York, that I express my hope that these steps towards each other will conclude with complete unity of the Russian Orthodox people.

Also participating in the ceremony was Protopriest Andrei Sommer, Vice President of the Synodal Youth Department of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.