DIOCESE OF MONTREAL AND CANADA: September 12, 2013
Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty
From September 4-8, 2013, at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Toronto, Canada, ceremonies were held dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanovs. By decision of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the center of the celebrations was the Canadian Diocese, and the Toronto church specifically, which boasts the largest parish in the entire Russian diaspora. The celebrations began with the arrival of two miracle-working icons of the Mother of God: the Kursk-Root Icon “of the Sign” and “Softener of Hardened Hearts,” also called “of the Seven-Arrows.” The visit began with a moleben and akathist in the cathedral, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
September 5 was the first day of a working session of the Synod of Bishops, also held in Toronto, and Mitred Protopriest Vladimir Malchenko, Senior Priest of the cathedral, and Protopriest Michael Luboschinksky, Rector of Veil of the Holy Mother Church in Hamilton, Ontario, celebrated Divine Liturgy.
On Friday, September 6, the members of the Synod of Bishops visited the youth summer camp “Ruskoka,” located in a picturesque region of Ontario, on the Muskoka River. The organization’s director, Mr Alexander Viktorovich Sakuta, and volunteer counselors, who had all spent many years working at the camp, ceremoniously and lovingly received the miracle-working images of the Mother of God. The archpastors took a tour of the campgrounds, after which they performed a moleben at Holy Martyr Tsarevich Alexey Chapel, built in the traditional Russian wooden style.
Saturday, September 7, also began with Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral by the local clergymen. Then, all the churchgoers were offered brunch at the parish hall, where the great number of those gathered heard lectures by Mr VV Chukanov on Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich and Mr Yuri Miloslavsky on Emperor Paul I. Ms ON Kulikovskaya then talked about the work her organization, the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna Foundation, does. The duchess was the sister of Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II.
That Saturday evening, Holy Trinity Cathedral, where there are usually 300-400 worshipers for Saturday night vigil, was filled beyond capacity. Metropolitan Hilarion led the service, joined by His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada (who originated the idea of holding a celebration for the Romanov Dynasty in his diocese), His Eminence Archbishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe, His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland and His Grace Bishop George of Mayfield.
The crowning moment of the event was Sunday’s Divine Liturgy headed by Metropolitan Hilarion along with the other archpastors, as well as other honored guests: His Grace Bishop Iov of Kashira, Head of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada, and His Grace Bishop Irenee of Quebec of the Orthodox Church in America. Mr George Skok led the cathedral choir, which sang beautifully and ceremoniously at all services.
The final “act” in the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov Dynasty was a banquet, at which Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the audience, as did Archbishop Gabriel, Archbishop Kyrill, Bishop Peter, Bishop Iov, Bishop Irenee, Fr Vladimir, Mr SV Chernenko, Associate Consul of the Russian Federation in Toronto, Ms Magdalena Zinyak, Vice President of Omni Video, and others.
A concert was also given, divided into two parts: a performance by the “Troitskiye Solovushki” children’s choir under Ms MV Bakhvalova and Mr Skok’s cathedral choir. Both executed inspired performances which moved their audience. Vladyka Gabriel drew attention to the fact that George Skok, renowned throughout the Church Aborad, has been a choir director for forty years. Georgy Anatolievich was given a gramata of blessing signed by the members of the Synod of Bishops, which the eminent choir director received with tears of gratitude.
Below are photographs of the celebrations: