Bishop Paul, MW clergy guests of Russian Church for Feast of the Tikhvin Icon
27 Jul 2016 at 3:12pm
Bishops Paul and Mstislav with reproduction of the wonderworking Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God.
From July 4 through 12, 2016, His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest was among the guests of the Russian Orthodox Church who celebrated the Feast of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God in Tikhvin and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Bishop Paul was accompanied by Archpriest John Adamcio, Dean of Chicago’s Holy Trinity Cathedral; Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, Rector of Holy Trinity Church, Parma, OH whose father, the late Archpriest Sergei Garklavs, had been the icon’s guardian from the late 1940s until its return to Russia in 2004; and Deacon Alexander Koranda of Chicago’s Saint George Cathedral. Also present from the US for the celebration was His Eminence, Archbishop Peter of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
On Friday, July 8—the Eve of the Feast of the Tikvin Icon—Bishop Paul concelebrated at the All-Night Vigil at the Cathedral of the Dormition at the Dormition Monastery of Our Lady of Tikhvin. Among those who welcomed Bishop Paul was His Eminence, Metropolitan Varsonofy of Saint Petersburg and Ladoga and His Grace, Bishop Mstislav of Tikhvin and Ladeinoye Polye, who is slated to visit Chicago in October 2016.
The following morning, Bishop Paul concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Metropolitan Varsonofy, Archbishop Peter, Bishop Mstislav, and numerous other hierarchs in the open air in front of the monastery cathedral. The Tikhvin Icon was present throughout the two-day celebration. A Service of Thanksgiving was celebrated before the icon after the Liturgy.
Bishop Paul with Frs. John Adamcio and Alexander Garklavs celebrate Akathistos.
Founded in 1560, the Dormition Monastery held the wonderworking Tikhvin Icon, which had been discovered by fishermen on Lake Ladoga in 1383—70 years before the fall of Constantinople. Tradition holds that the original icon was the work of the Evangelist Luke. In the fifth century it was moved from Jerusalem to Constantinople, where it was enshrined in the Church of the Virgin Mary in the city’s Blachernae district. The icon remained in the Dormition Monastery until it was closed—and subsequently destroyed—by the Soviet authorities in the 1920s. During World War II the icon was taken to Latvia in the face of Nazi advances into northern Russia. In 1949, His Grace, Bishop John [Garklavs] of Riga [later Archbishop of Chicago] brought the icon with him to the US, where for many years it was enshrined in Chicago’s Holy Trinity Cathedral. After Archbishop John’s death in 1982, his adopted son, Father Sergei, was the icon’s guardian until it was returned to the Tikhvin Monastery in 2004. See related story.
At the conclusion of the festal Liturgy, Metropolitan Varsonofy read greetings from His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, in which he recounted the numerous occasions throughout history when the Mother of God interceded for the Russian people, especially during the years of severe tribulation. “The Mother of God showed her love and care for us through the centuries,” he recalled. “Thank God this image has returned to Russia! We can kneel and open our hearts before the Heavenly Queen, to pray to her, to recite hymns and to sing troparia. What she has done for us serves our salvation.”
‘Today the city of Tikhvin is rejoicing,” Bishop Mstislav added. “Today an assembly of bishops, a great many priests and hundreds of worshippers venerate the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God. Present here with us today are our guests from Chicago – Bishop Paul, Archbishop Peter and Archpriest Alexander, a son of Archpriest Sergiy Garklavs, the long-time guardian of the Tikhvin Icon.
“The icon has returned to the place in which it was found many centuries ago,” Bishop Mstislav concluded. “In our prayers before the icon, we ask the Mother of God to help the monastery, the whole Church of Russia and all our people,” adding that Bishop Paul had brought with him a piece of soil from the grounds of Chicago’s Holy Trinity Cathedral. “The cathedral was built by the first holy martyr of the Petersburg region—Saint Archpriest Ioann Kochurov—with the blessing of Saint Bishop Tikhon, the future Patriarch,” Bishop Mstislav explained.
Bishop Paul celebrates Divine Liturgy in St. Petersburg’s Holy Trinity Cathedral at the St. Alexander Nevsky Lavra.
On Sunday, July 10—the Sunday of All Saints of the Saint Petersburg region—Bishop Paul presided at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Saint Petersburg’s landmark Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra—the oldest monastic community on the Neva River. In addition to Fathers John and Alexander and Deacon Alexander, many of the monastery’s clergy also concelebrated.
“On behalf of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada and the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, I am honored to be with you today,” Bishop Paul said at the conclusion of the Liturgy. “Today the Lord has made it possible for me to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with you, which is a cause for me to rejoice. This is my first visit to Russia. Returning to America, I will always remember you and your sincere faith, and in turn, I ask your holy prayers.”
A photo gallery of the celebration is available on the web site of the Diocese of the Midwest.
Sr. Vassa to speak in Eastern PA October 17-20
27 Jul 2016 at 12:34pm
Sister Dr. Vassa [Larin], the well known liturgiologist of the University of Vienna, Austria and nun of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia who hosts a popular Youtube series of catechetical programs titled “Coffee with Sr. Vassa”, will offer five presentations across eastern Pennsylvania October 17-20, 2016.
On Monday, October 17, Sister Vassa will speak at Holy Cross Church, 1725 Holy Cross Lane, Williamsport, PA at 7:00 p.m. Her topic will be “Sharing the Gospel in the Age of the Internet.”
Saint Tikhon’s Monastery and Seminary, 175 Saint Tikhon’s Road, South Canaan, PA will host Sister Vassa on Tuesday, October 18 at noon, when she will speak on “Contemporary Challenges in Pursuing Vocations.” At 7:00 p.m. that evening, she will speak on “Keeping Christ in Orthodoxy” at Holy Trinity Church, 401 East Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA.
“Scripture in Orthodox Liturgy and Everyday Life” will be the topic of Sister Vassa’s presentation at Christ the Saviour Church, 5501 Old Locust Lane, Harrisburg, PA on Wednesday, October 19 at 7:00 p.m.
The final presentation in the series will be delivered at Saint Stephen Cathedral, 8598 Verre Road, Philadelphia, PA on Thursday, October 20, at 7:00 p.m. Sister Vassa’s topic will be “Keeping Christ in Orthodoxy.”
The series is being presented by the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Church in America and the Orthodox Council of Churches of South Central Pennsylvania. A PDF flyer is available on-line.
SVOTS strengthens Australian ties
26 Jul 2016 at 12:52pm
Fr. John Behr (front row, second from left) with his class of 72 students at St. Athanasius College.
Archpriest Dr. John Behr, Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary [SVOTS] here, recently returned from a three-week teaching assignment in Australia, where he offered an intensive course in Patristics, titled “The School of Alexandria,” at Saint Athanasius Coptic Theological College [SAC] from June 24-July 10, 2016. He also served and delivered public lectures in ten parishes of the Greek, Russian, Antiochian, Serbian and Coptic Orthodox communities, headlined a “Youth in Christ” meeting, led a spiritual retreat for clergy, and gave a nationally syndicated interview on ABC Radio’s “The Spirit of Things” program.
Additionally, he delivered a paper at the annual meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools, reporting for the first time in public on the findings from his new translation of and extensive introduction to Origen’s On First Principles, slated to be published by OUP in December 2017. At the same conference he also participated in a book launch of The Life of Repentance and Purity, by Pope Shenouda III, a collaborative publication between Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press and SAC Press, which has become the fastest selling title in SVS Press’s history.
Fr. John Behr with Archbishop Paul, Metropolitan of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Australia, at St. Nicholas Church in Sydney.
Also included in his schedule were meetings with His Eminence, Archbishop Stylianos of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia and Dean and founder of Saint Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College, Sydney; and His Eminence, Archbishop Paul, Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. All told, Father John spoke to nearly 1,300 people in the metro areas of Sydney and Melbourne.
Father John’s teaching engagements were coordinated by two Saint Vladimir’s alumni: His Grace, Bishop Dr. Suriel, Chancellor and Dean of SAC and Bishop of the Coptic Diocese of Melbourne and Affiliated Regions, and Christine Jabbour Ayoub (M.A. ’03). Both offered high praise and appreciation for Father John’s visit.
Fr. John Behr exchanging gifts with Archbishop Stylianos of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia and dean and founder of St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Theological College, Sydney.
In the July 10 and July 17, 2016 editions of Epsajee, a diocesan publication of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Bishop Suriel stated, “Our visiting lecturer, Father John Behr, has returned to New York, leaving behind a legacy of academic rigor in learning, a love of the church fathers, and a genuine commitment to cultivate service and community in our Christian journey.
“Words could not fully capture the impact that Father John’s visit and input has had upon students, staff, clergy and others at SAC,” he continued, “And everyone has been challenged by Father John’s dedication to lifelong learning, his love of God, and his generosity in sharing his profound knowledge of Church history—especially the early Church Fathers—in a contemporary, eloquent, and engaging manner.”
Father John himself expressed gratitude for the opportunities given to him to renew and strengthen ties between Saint Vladimir’s Seminary and a broad base of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christian communities—ties that in part began with a visit to Australia by Dean Emeritus, Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko (+2015), in 1997. He especially remarked on burgeoning possibilities for future student exchange and joint work between the publication houses of SVOTS and SAC.
Fr. John Behr with Bishop Suriel at a Youth in Christ meeting.
“I am expecting more Australian students, at the request of Bishop Suriel, to come to our Seminary in New York to be carefully and highly educated in our Master of Arts and Master of Theology Programs,” said Father John, “and then to return to SAC as faculty prepared to influence hundreds and hundreds of future students by instruction in sound theology. They, along with many other foreign students we’re expecting—Antiochian, Serbian, Greek—will join our American family here at SVOTS, continuing our long history of being the place where Orthodox Christians of all ethnic and jurisdictional backgrounds are praying and studying together in unity.
“Moreover,” he added, “SAC Press will also soon begin acting as a distribution center for SVS Press books in Australia, and this amazing arrangement will allow Saint Vladimir’s to continue its mission of spreading the Word of God through the written word.”
View a video of Fr. John speaking at St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Kensington, VIC, Australia on the topic, “Standing by the Cross, Putting on Christ.”