The Editors of the magazine Unity asked Vladyka Hilarion to talk about his present visit to the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.
— Your Eminence Vladyka, the parishioners are happy to once again see you in Australia. How long will this trip last?
— This time I plan to be here for a month and a half. I will try to visit those parishes which I did not have a chance to visit during my last trip. On the feast day of Archangel Michael, I celebrated Divine Liturgy at my Archbishops’ Church in Croydon, and, of course, the biggest event was the 50th anniversary of Archangel Michael Church in Blacktown. I was gone for four months, and a great many things accumulated for me to take care of. I will participate in the annual meetings of our benevolent societies and the Diocesan Council.
On the feast day of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most-Holy Mother of God, on December 4, I plan to visit Vvedensky Convent in Bungarby, where Mother Anna is the Abbess. After this, on December 6, I will visit St Nicholas Church in Adelaide.
From December 12-21, I will visit the New Zealand parishes. A Youth Conference will begin on December 26 in Melbourne, in which I plan to participate. This will pretty much end my visit, since on January 4, I will return to New York. If God grants it, I hope to return to Australia by the end of Great Lent and spend Holy Pascha here.
— Over the 4 months of your absence, what events were most memorable?
— One of the most significant events was the first visit of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, after many years, to the Russian land. I participated in that event for about three weeks, which left a great impression on me of the piety of our people. Thousands of people came to meet the holy icon. People waited for many hours for their turn to venerate the miracle-working image. This visit had a symbolic meaning as well. The icon has visited many countries, and now returned to her homeland, and, if God allows, it will make yearly visits to the Kursk-Root Hermitage and other regions of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
— What functions do you perform during your stays in New York?
–As the Ruling Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern America and New York, I often visit many parishes and monasteries in various parts of the Eastern United States. It is very pleasing to see a great many young people at these parishes, just as in Australia. It is a joy that the youth, and not only Russian youth, absorb our traditions and customs along with Orthodox Christianity.
The Synod of Bishops is located in New York, where the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign is also situated. The Synod building will soon reach a hundred years in age. It now requires major renovation. We hope that we will find donors who will help us restore it.
— On December 10, the 25th anniversary of Your Eminence’s archpastoral service will be celebrated. Where were you consecrated?
— I was consecrated Bishop at the Synodal Cathedral in New York. Metropolitan Philaret officiated; it was during the feast day of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God in December, 1984. Over the course of almost a year, until Metropolitan Philaret’s death, I was his Vicar Bishop. In 1996, I was elevated to the rank of Archbishop and assigned to the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.
Interviewed by Vladimir Kuzmin, Sydney
Unity [Edineniye], the official website of the Diocese of Australia and New Zealand.