Patriarch Kirill arrives on Mount Athos
On June 4, 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia arrived on Holy Mount Athos, accompanied by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s administrative secretariat, and Schiarchimandrite Iliy (Nozdrin).
Among the welcoming part were Athos Governor Aristos Kasmiroglou, Presidential Envoy for the Russian Federation Central Region A. Beglov, and Chairman of the State Duma committee for the CIS and relations with compatriots, L. Slutsky.
Among those who met Patriarch Kirill were also Archbishop Feognost, abbot of St. Sergius’ Monastery of the Holy Trinity, V. Legoida, head of the synodal information department, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, DECR vice-chairman, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations, Protodeacon Vladimir Nazarkin, assistant to the DECR chairman, and M. Kuksov, head of the patriarchal personal secretariat.
From the port of Dafni His Holiness Kirill proceeded to Karyes, the administrative center of Mount Athos.
On the Holy Mount, the Primate of the Russian Church is to visit several monasteries and hermitages, venerate their shrines, celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon and meet with members of the Holy Epistasia, the Holy Mount Athos executive body.
Patriarch Kirill meets with members of the Mount Athos Epistasia
On June 4, 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, during his stay on Mount Athos, met with members of the Epistasia, the executive body of Holy Mount Athos.
The Primate of the Russian Church was welcomed by Protoepistat Fr. Maxim and representatives of the Athonite monasteries. Among the welcoming party was also Metropolitan Apostolos of Miletus, representative of the Patriarchate of Constantinople on Holy Mount Athos.
In response to the welcoming speeches by Fr. Maxim and Metropolitan Apostolos, Patriarch Kirill asked them to convey to His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople his love and joy over the opportunity to pray on Holy Mount Athos.
‘The Holy Mount’, he said, ‘is really the center of the entire Orthodoxy. Great is the responsibility of those who carry out their service here including for the preservation of unity of all the Orthodox Churches, for the purity of Orthodoxy and monastic life. Through their prayers, the Athonite monks support Orthodoxy throughout the world’.
‘I would like to assure His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of our prayers. We are aware of the disturbances in Constantinople and in Turkey. We pray that all these disquiets may not involve His Holiness the Patriarch and his Holy Throne of Constantinople’, he said in conclusion.
His Holiness celebrates at the Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos
On 5 June 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral church of the Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos. Concelebrating were Metropolitan Apostolos of Mileta, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on the Holy Mountain; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR); Archbishop Feognost of Sergiev Posad, abbot of the Laura of the Holy Trinity and St, Sergius; Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Administrative Secretariat; archimandrite Jeremiah (Alekhin), hegumen of the monastery; hieromonk Makary, epitropos and father confessor of the monastery; archpriest Nikolai Balashov, DECR deputy chairman; archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for Inter-Orthodox relations; and protodeacon Vladimir Nazarkin, assistant to the DECR chairman.
Praying in the sanctuary was schema-archimandrite Iliy (Nozdrin). Among the worshippers were Russian Presidential Envoy in the Central Federal District, Alexander Beglov; Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Commonwealth of Independent States and relations with compatriots, Leonid Slutsky; Chairman of the Synodal Information Department, Vladimir Legoida; and brethren of the monastery.
After the Liturgy, archimandrite Jeremiah presented His Holiness with an icon of all saints. In his homily, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said that he had celebrated the Divine Liturgy with a special feeling. Many generations of monks incessantly prayed to the Lord for our Fatherland, our people and the salvation of human souls in this church, which is the centre of spiritual life in the Monastery of St. Panteleimon.
“Athos has always fulfilled a special mission by keeping the candle of Orthodoxy burning and by praying for the whole world. The monks’ life goes on far away from worldly vanity; they remain capable of seeing and feeling the priority in life; they understand that the word of God is indisputable, that it is not a philosophical error, but Divine revelation about the meaning and purpose of human life. They bear a special responsibility to pray not only for themselves, but for the whole world.
“Everyday in your prayers you are asking the Lord to prolong human history and give people an opportunity to repent. Pray for our Fatherland: we need your help and your prayerful support in our struggle for preserving Orthodox faith.”
His Holiness wished the brethren to keep the purity of Orthodoxy and the purity of their hearts and presented them with the icon-lamp which once hung over the shrine with the relics of St. Panteleimon, but had been moved away from the monastery many decades ago and has been found in Russia recently. Patriarch Kirill made another donation to the monastery – a copy of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who is also the head of the Foundation for restoration of the monastery, sent an icon of all Russian Athonite monks glorified by the Church.
Patriarch Kirill says prayer for the dead at the Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos
On June 4, 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said the lity for the dead brethren of the Monastery of St. Panteleimon.
Praying together with His Holiness were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations, Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s administrative secretariat, Archbishop Feognost of Sergiev Posad, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for monasteries and monastics, as well as brethren of the St. Panteleimon monastery.
Patriarch Kirill venerates shrines of the Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos
On June 4, 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia arrived at the Russian Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos. At the monastery gates, His Holiness was welcomed by the abbot of the monastery, Archimandrite Jeremiah, and the monastic community.
To the sound of bells, His Holiness and his delegation proceeded to the church in which he celebrated a thanksgiving. Then Patriarch Kirill venerated the honourable relics of the Holy Protomartyr and Healer Panteleimon.
Addressing the abbot and the brethren, His Holiness said in particular,
‘I would like to wholeheartedly thank the Father Hegumen and the dear brethren for their pastoral care of the pilgrims who come from Holy Russia and all the countries our Church has in her pastoral care. Pilgrims from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and other countries and our flock from far-abroad countries – all come to the shrines of Holy Mount Athos to find spiritual comfort here.
‘Many of you know and those who do not know feel in their hearts how important are things happening in the world and in our country today, how important it is today to strengthen Orthodoxy in people’s souls, to help them realize that it is only reliance on the word of God and the power of the faith that will make it possible to solve problems facing man, without sinning, which means combining concern for material welfare, which is the nature of both people and countries, with concern for salvation and eternal life.
Holy Mount Athos bears a special spiritual mission including towards the peoples of historical Russia. Being thousands of kilometres away from us, you participate in the religious revival of our people. Please, take care of the pilgrims, because every good word pronounced here echoes in people’s minds and hearts, while a careless word or disregard echo with bitterness and sadness. Yours is the great mission of participation of the rebirth of Holy Russia’.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill venerates Panagia Portaitissa at Iveron Monastery
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill visited the Iveron Monastery, celebrated a prayer service and venerated the Iveron icon of the Mother of God, also called Panagia Portaitissa (Gate-keeper) at the chapel.
Hegumen of the monastery, archimandrite Nathanael welcomed His Holiness and said that the exact copy of the wonderworking icon could be found in central Moscow. “Panagia Portaitissa has become the heart of Holy Rus,’ while we have become brothers, as we have her as our common mother and intercessor. While in Moscow, we feel at home, and when we receive pilgrims here, and first of all You, Your Holiness, we feel that we receive our brothers at home?” he added.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church addressed the hegumen and the brethren. He spoke at length about the history of the icon and also about the return of its first copy to the Church a year ago by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal instruction after the Patriarch’s request. The icon is now at its original place, at the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow. The return was a great event: many people, including myself and the President, met the icon in solemn procession of the cross, and now thousands of believers can venerate the miraculous copy of the Iberian icon of the Mother of God.
Hegumen Nathanael presented a copy of Panagia Portaitissa icon and a copy of a silver reliquary kept in the monastery to His Holiness. Patriarch Kirill donated an icon of St. John the Theologian to the monastery and left an entry in the distinguished visitors’ book.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill visits Scete of Prophet Elijah founded by St. Paisius Velichkovsky on Mount Athos
On 5 June 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia proceeded to the Scete of the Prophet Elijah after visiting the Monastery of Pantocrator together with those accompanying him.
His Holiness celebrated a prayer service in the scete. In his address to the worshippers he shared his joy of visiting the scete, which he called a pearl of the Holy Mount. “The scete was founded by a great ascetic – the elder Paisius Velichkovsky, who late became the founder of the tradition of eldership in many countries, including Russia. During one hundred and fifty years many Russian people, simple and well-known, came here to follow their monastic calling,” His Holiness said and continued:
“One of the chapels here is dedicated to St. Metrophanes of Voronezh. Love and faith of our people are seen in its magnificent decoration. This church beauty has come into being donations. Sadly, there have been no Russian monks here since 1990s because of the well-known reasons. However, I believe and all Russian people together with our Church of many million believe that Russian monasticism will revive in this place, and the Greeks and the Russian will glorify God together.
“The Russian Church and historical Rus’ – Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova – are in the process of revival, because Orthodox faith is reviving. Thousands of churches and hundred and monasteries and convents have been opened, and we can say that this revival is God’s miracle. You can see this revival even in the increasing number of pilgrims from Holy Russia to Holy Mount Athos.”
His Holiness donated an icon of the Saviour to the scete, and archimandrite Joachim presented His Holiness with a copy of the icon of the Mother of God with which Russian Emperor Nicholas I did not part during war with the Ottoman Empire.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church and his suite went to the Church of St. Nicholas the Miracleworker, sang troparia to the saint and to the Mother of God and venerated her icon called “Milkgiver.”
Primate of the Russian Church celebrates prayer service at the Monastery of Pantocrator
On 5 June 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and his suite at Mount Athos visited the Monastery of Pantocrator.
After the prayer service, hegumen of the monastery, archimandrite Gabriel said to His Holiness: “We are happy to see you standing before the icon of our Mother, the intercessor and protector from any evil, Panagia Gerontissa, which means the Elder… We wish Your Holiness to be always protected by Her in your ministry to the vineyard of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said to the worshippers: “Your renowned monastery is dedicated to the Transfiguration of our Lord and Saviour. Many monastic abodes are dedicated to this feast, for instance, the Valaam Monastery in Russia called the Northern Athos… It is a symbolic fact that St. Gregory Palamas, a theologian and singer of the Light of Tabor, lived in the Monastery of Pantocrator.
“Among the holy objects of the monastery there are a particle of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross and relics of the saints deeply venerated in the Russian Orthodox Church: Ss Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian, Ss Athanasios the Great and Ignatius the Theophoros, Ss Cosmas and Damian, and the Great Martyr Theodoros Stratelatos, heavenly patron of the Russia city of Kostroma, the cradle of the Romanov dynasty.”
Father hegumen presented the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church with a copy of Gerontissa icon of the Mother of God; His Holiness made a gift of an icon of Christ the Saviour painted by Andrei Rublev to the monastery and left the following entry in the distinguished visitors’ book: “May the Lord Pantocrator keep and strengthen the Orthodox faith in human hearts. Monasticism that is growing in its glory in the abodes of the Holy Mount, and in the Monastery of Pantocrator in particular, has been and will be a spiritual firm ground of it. I thank father hegumen and the brethren for hospitality and common prayer.”