August 25, 2017, was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, one of the great builders in the Holy Land. Through his fervent efforts, the unique legacy of the Russian Orthodox Church known as “Russian Palestine” was established.
The decision to celebrate this anniversary was made in November 2016 by a joint meeting of hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Participating were His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany of ROCOR; His Grace Bishop Antony of Zvenigorod, Head of Foreign Establishments of the MP; Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem of ROCOR; Archimandrite Alexander (Elisov), Head of the Russian Mission of the MP and officials.
On August 24, the eve of the anniversary of Fr Antonin’s birth, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of ROCOR, officiated at divine services at Ascension of the Lord Convent on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem. He was joined by His Eminence Metropolitan Feofan of Kazan and Tatarstan, official representative of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at these celebrations; His Eminence Metropolitan Sergy of Ternopol and Kremenets; Archbishop Mark; heads of both Missions, along with pilgrims in the clerical rank.
A pannikhida was performed over Fr Antonin’s grave after vespers.
The next day, the Primate of the Church Abroad celebrated Divine Liturgy along with Metropolitan Feofan and Metropolitan Sergy, Archbishop Mark and the other clergymen.
During the minor entrance, the head of the convent, Nun Varvara (Novikova) was elevated to the rank of abbess.
Metropolitan Hilarion then entrusted Mother Varvara with the abbess’ staff, after which a trapeza luncheon was offered, at which His Eminence endowed the officials at the event with a newly-minted medal, “In Memory of the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin).” The book Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin): Sermons and His Years in Kiev was then presented, which covered previously-unknown sermons of the priest, as well as his translations of the Conversations of St John Chrysostom on the Gospel of John.
Following this was a viewing of Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin), Builder of Russian Palestine, directed by A. Slobodskoy, and an exhibit of documents and archives of Fr Antonin.