On February 26-March 2, 2018, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan made an official trip to Russia. Accompanying His Grace were Protopriest George Zelenin and Protopriest Alexandre Antchoutine.
At the request of Metropolitan Hilarion and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Vladyka Nicholas visited Moscow in order to receive Holy Myrrh for the parishes of the Eastern American Diocese.
His Grace arrived in Moscow on Monday, February 26, where he met with organizers of a pilgrimage Metropolitan Hilarion will soon lead to Russia. The organizers gave Bishop Nicholas a gift of a large, carved cross for His Eminence.
Vladyka Nicholas and Fr Alexandre then went to Sofrino, the liturgical supply company. They were warmly met here by the administration, and were shown the newest manufacturing equipment.
On Tuesday, Bishop Nicholas visited Vysoko-Petrovsky Monastery, where he viewed the renovation work being done, prayed in its churches and visited its workshops. The delegation then visited the Borisoglebsky Stavropighial Convent in Anosino. They venerated its relics and had lunch hosted by the convent’s abbess and the convent’s Priest Georgy Kirindas. Afterwards the visitors made private visits.
On Wednesday, February 28, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Tikhon of Egorievsk, Vladyka Nicholas and Fr Alexandre visted the Skete of Sretensky Stavropighial Monastery three hours outside of Moscow , in Ryazan oblast. The seminarians of Sretensky Seminary traditionally spend their first year at the skete, where they study, perform obediences and participate in divine services. This year, 38 young men are enrolled in the first year, including Peter Antchoutine, Fr Alexandre’s son.
The seminarians were eager to meet with Vladyka Nicholas. Arriving in time for lunch, His Grace shared a trapeza luncheon with the students. After a prayer, the long-awaited meeting of the hierarch and seminarians took place. The seminarians posted a wide variety of questions. After a long discussion, Bishop Nicholas and the seminarians went to the skete’s church for a short service followed by a general photograph. Vladyka Nicholas was then given a tour of the buildings and classes as the seminarians returned to their work. After dinner, His Grace and Fr Alexandre returned to Moscow.
On Thursday, March 1, the delegation visited Tserkovnaya tkan’, a liturgical supply store, where Vladyka Nicholas selected new vestments for St Vladimir Memorial Church for the 1000th Anniversary of the Baptism of Rus in Jackson, NJ.
The delegation then headed for Danilov Monastery, to the residence of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. Having presented the proper documentation, they received Holy Myrrh. The necessary paperwork for export was prepared, after which Bishop Nicholas and Fr Alexander headed for Bogoyavlensky Cathedral. Here, Protopriest Alexander Ageikin, the Senior Priest, welcomed them. After venerating the relics of St Alexei, Metropolitan of Moscow, Bishop Nicholas performed a pannikhida at the tomb of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, also commemorating Metropolitan Laurus, the late First Hierarch of ROCOR, and others.
The delegation then visited Great Martyr Catherine Church in Vspoliye, the official representation of the Orthodox Church in America to the Patriarchal Throne. Protopriest Daniil Andreyuk, head of the center, greeted the visitors. After venerating the holy relics of the church, they met for a discussion at the office of Fr Daniil.
On Friday, March 2, Bishop Nicholas and the delegation visited Christ the Savior Catheral, where they shared a lunch with its Senior Priest, Protopriest Mikhail Ryazatsev.
Returning to New York on Saturday, Vladyka Nicholas presented Metropolitan Hilarion with the Holy Myrrh and reported on the visit.