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WASHINGTON, DC: July 14, 2017
St John the Baptist Cathedral Honors the Russian Ambassador to the USA

On Thursday, July 13, 2017, the feast day of the Twelve Apostles, St John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC, hosted an evening honoring the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Russia to the United States of America, Sergei Ivanovich Kislyak, and his wife, Natalia Mikhailovna.

At 7 pm, the parishioners and friends of Ambassador Kislyak and his spouse gathered at the cathedral, where Mitred Protopriest Victor Potapov, the Rector, performed a moleben of gratitude along with Protodeacon Eugene Kallaur.

Afterwards, Protopriest Serafim Gan, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of ROCOR, awarded Sergei Ivanovich the Synodal Medal of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign, First Order, and read a decree from the Synod of Bishops:

TO THE EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY AMBASSADOR OF RUSSIA
TO THE UNITED STATES

Sergey Ivanovich and Nataliya Mikhahilovna Kislyak

From a report by Mitred Protopriest Victor Potapov, Rector of St John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC, we learned of your many years of participation in a multitude of cultural, youth and philanthropic events. Your genuine friendship and close cooperation with our church community in the US capital has made it possible to provide much-needed aid to people in both Russia and the United States of America.

In great appreciation of your earnest support, we express our profound gratitude to you for your kindness and efforts, and invoke Divine blessings upon you.

In recognition of the aforementioned, we present you with this decree of blessing, duly signed and bearing the seal of the Synod of Bishops in the God-preserved City of New York on July 12, in the Year of Our Lord 2017.

Metropolitan Hilarion
President of the Synod of Bishops

...

In recognition of his earnest efforts for many years, and in gratitude for his ready willingness to provide needed support and aid to our Hierarchy, clergy and laity,

SERGEI IVANOVICH KISLYAK,
EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY AMBASSADOR OF RUSSIA
TO THE UNITED STATES

is awarded the Synodal Znamensky Order, First Degree.

In witness of which this decree of blessing is granted, duly signed and bearing the seal of the Synod of Bishops in the God-preserved City of New York on July 12, in the Year of Our Lord 2017.

Metropolitan Hilarion
President of the Synod of Bishops

In response, a clearly moved Sergei Ivanovich expressed his genuine gratitude to the Synod of Bishops and Metropolitan Hilarion, who is at present leading a pilgrimage to the holy sites of Russia. He said that he has high regard for the important role played by St John the Baptist Cathedral in the spiritual and cultural life of the Russian community of Washington.

Protodeacon Eugene then, in a booming voice, intoned Many Years to the Ambassador and his wife.

The participants of the celebration then had a trapeza dinner at the neighboring parish hall, where they enjoyed various performances, including a slide show of the cathedral and Russian Embassy and its many events over the years, including Maslenitsa (Cheesefare Week celebrations), Tatyana Youth Ball, as well as Ambassador Kislyaks frequent participation in parish events.

Parishioners Artem Starchenko, Victoria Sukhareva, guitarist Tatyana Trubetskaya and others then performed Ambassador Kislyaks favorite Russian songs, interspersed by speeches praising Sergei Ivanovich and his wife. Of particular note was a number which included humorous songs about the Kislyaks performed by parishioners.

Ambassador Kislyak then said that he and his wife would never forget the parishs kind farewell and wished them continued success.

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