On October 20, 2017, a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Krutitsa and Kolomensk arrived in Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel. He was greeted by Archimandrite Alexander (Yelisov), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Deputy Chief Hieromonk Dometian (Markaryan). Upon arriving in Jerusalem’s Sergievskoy Podvorie, the headquarters of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Moscow Patriarchate, His Eminence was welcomed by His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavsk, Patriarchal Exarch to Belarus; His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon of Yaroslavl and Rostov; His Eminence Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh; His Grace Bishop Tikhon of Podolsk, Vicar of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and Hegumen Feofan (Lukianov), Head of Protocol of the Department of External Church Relations. Also in attendance were His Eminence Archbishop Antony of Zvenigorod, Head of Institutions Abroad and His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
At 1:30, the delegation was received by His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of the Holy City of Jerusalem and All Palestine in his throne room.
Metropolitan Yuvenaly began the meeting by expressing heartfelt, fraternal greetings and a message of good will from Patriarch Kirill.
“His Holiness blessed us to come to the Holy Land to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem,” said Metropolitan Yuvenaly. “Most important for us is prayer, and so, as pilgrims ought to do, we headed from the airport directly to see Your Beatitude, to receive your blessing to seek your blessing to celebrate Divine Liturgy at the Holy Sepulcher of the Lord in the Holy City, and at Holy Trinity Cathedral of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission. We also hope that the celebrations connected with the jubilee will proceed under your omophor, especially Divine Liturgy on Sunday, October 22, at Holy Trinity Cathedral.”
“This year, the Russian Orthodox Church is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the reestablishment of the Patriarchy, and in connection with this, allow us to extend the fervent invitation to Your Beatitude to welcome you in Russia, in Moscow, to celebrate this important event. The Russian people have always harbored the warmest feeling for the Mother Church, the Church of Jerusalem, and believe us that the Russian people will greet you like Christ was greeted as He entered Jerusalem.”
Metropolitan Yuvenaly then thanked Patriarch Theophilos for his fatherly care for the Mission, and gave him an embroidered icon of the Most-Holy Mother of God.
In response, Patriarch Theophilos thanked the lofty guests for their visit and expressed his genuine hope that the brotherly cooperation between the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Patriarchate will continue to grow and strengthen. His Beatitude then gave the visiting hierarchs fine mother-of-pearl crosses and panaghias.
In 3:00 pm, Archimandrite Alexander hosted a luncheon at Sergievskoye Podvorie.
At 5 pm, the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church visited Ascension of the Lord Convent on the Mt of Olives of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Welcoming the delegation were Archbishop Mark, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and Abbess Varvara, along with the convent’s clergymen and nuns.
The hierarchs then proceeded to Ascension of the Lord Church, where they jointly performed a pannikhida over the crypt of Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin) of blessed memory, the founder of “Russian Palestine” who amassed properties in the Holy Land.
Archbishop Mark then thanked Metropolitan Yuvenaly and his delegation for their warm commemoration of Fr Antonin, and gave each a memorial medal marking the 200th anniversary of his birth.
In response, Metropolitan Yuvenaly emphasized the joy and value of joint prayer, the fruits of which are the result of the reunification of the two branches of the Russian Church to the benefit of all Russian Orthodox Christians, and stressed that the founding of “Russian Palestine” by Fr Antonin lay the firm basis for the present and future work of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission.
A reception followed in the Archimandrite House. The first day of celebrations concluded with a dinner in the refectory of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, where the life of the Mission was discussed.