To My Eminent Brother Archpastors, Honorable Fathers, Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The 20th century was a difficult time for Orthodox Christians on the territory of the Russian Empire, which became the USSR after the Great War, the October Revolution and Civil War. But the more the Church endured persecution, the brighter the lanterns of faith and piety shone in the Russian land. From the Tsar and the members of the Royal Family close to him in spirit, from archpastors and simple monastics, priests, deacons to laypersons came forth a powerful spiritual army of the Church Militant. By 1918, the Russian Church showed two sorts of podvig—that of martyrdom and that of confession. Thank God, today we see how the blood of many millions of the host of Martyrs and Confessors who turned the Russian land red became the seeds of salvation for the spiritual rebirth of our people, in the Fatherland and in the diaspora.
On May 17, 2018, the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church of Sacramento celebrated its Patronal Feast Day.
His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America presided over the Divine Liturgy and festivities. Concelebrating with him were Archpriest Paul Volmensky (Rector), Archpriest James Steele (St. Elias Church of Diamond Springs, CA), Archdeacon Peter (Karakozoff), and deacons Nicholai Lenkoff and Nicholas Stoltz.
On Sunday, May 6, 2018, The 5th Sunday of Pascha and the feast day of St George the Victory-Bearer and Great Martyr, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America celebrated Divine Liturgy at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York City, along with the Senior Priest of the cathedral, Protopriest Andrei Sommer.
The Head of the Russian Imperial House, Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna and her son, Tsesarevich and Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich, who was celebrating his namesday, prayed at the service.
On Saturday the 5th of May, 2018, the 8th Annual Children’s Cossack Games were held at Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church of Sacramento under the direction of Stanislav Holokov a Semirechniy Cossack, Ataman of the Cossacks’ National Union and Dean of the Western American Cossack Cadet School in honor of the “Don” Icon of the Mother of God.
On Pascha night, April 8th, 2018, His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America resumed his duties as Ruling Bishop after a brief leave of absence for health reasons, which had been blessed by Metropolitan Hilarion First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
On Pascha night, divine services were celebrated at the Cathedral of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow" in San Francisco, CA, the home of the uncorrupt relics of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Miracle-worker. Leading the services was His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, who returned from a brief leave of absence. His Eminence was joined by the cathedral's clergymen, as the Cathedral Choir and SS Cyrill and Methodius High School Choir sang antiphonally.
I express my heartfelt greetings to you my brother archpastors, dear in the Lord fathers, brothers and sisters, on this holy, brightest and all-joyous day of the Resurrection of Christ, and in the name of the Three-day Risen God, the Lover of Mankind, extend to you the embrace of Paschal rejoicing and fraternal love! Bowing down to Christ, the Giver of Life, together with the entire Church, I fervently pray for His mercy, that He grant us the unearthly, desired peace that He gave His disciples, and blesses our prayerful and fraternal communion in His name.
On Sunday March 25, Holy Virgin Cathedral, which is dedicated to the honor of the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos “Joy of All Who Sorrow,” hosted the Western American Diocese’s Tenth Annual Great-Lenten Retreat: “Bringing the Church to the World.” This year’s speakers were Bishop Irenei of Sacramento and Hieromonk Alexii (Altschul). From the beginning connections were found between this retreat and those held previously. Fr. Alexii had been baptized into the Orthodox Faith by last year’s speaker Fr. Moses Berry, while Bishop Irenei had been the speaker of the first ever Great-Lenten retreat back in 2007 (before his monastic tonsure and episcopal consecration) as Oxford University Fellow Dr. Matthew Steenburg.
Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,
With incredible pain we have received the news about the tragic events in the Kemerov Diocese which swept away the lives of a multitude of children. Now, moved by the Christian sense of sympathy and brotherly love, we are praying for the repose of those who have been lost and for the health of those lying in hospitals. And, we call for all possible assistance to all affected families through the Benevolent Memorial Fund of St. Archbishop John (Maximovich).
This great archpastor of the Russian Diaspora always hastened to the aid of the suffering, those in tribulation and those weighed down by the cross of life. He hastened with concrete help, with kind words of love, consolation, hope and prayer.
Let us follow, even if in small measure,...
On Sunday, March 18, 2018, the Parish Choir of the Church of All Russian Saints in Burlingame, California, presented its annual “Lenten” choral recital, featuring works heard at Great Lent and Passion Week services. The concert was dedicated to the memory of Metropolitan Laurus, who reposed ten years ago on March 16, 2008. Before the first selection, all who were present chanted “Eternal Memory” for +Metropolitan Laurus, Prince Vladimir Galitzine (+ 22-FEB-2018) and Dmitri Hvorostovsky (+ 22-NOV-2017). Several concert selections are familiar sacred works performed by Hvorostovsky.
On behalf of the Diocesan Council of the Western American Diocese an Appeal for the collection of funds for the renovation of Saint Tikhon's House in San Francico, CA, was read to the diocesan clergy at their Great-Lenten Retreat held from March 12 to 14, 2018.
As part of the program of the Lenten Pastoral Retreat of the clergy of the Western American Diocese which had been held from March 12 to 14, 2018, our bishops, priests and deacons gathered in Old Holy Virgin Cathedral to perform a panykhida for ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus who reposed on the Sunday of Orthodoxy 10 years ago (+ 3/16, 2008).
Archpriest Alex Kotar, Dean of the Northern Deanery of the Western American Diocese and Archdeacon Peter (Karakozoff) performed the panykhida. His Grace Bishop Theodosy, His Grace Bishop Irenei and the participanting clergy of the conference chanted and prayed.
Memory Eternal to our beloved and ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus, a true Teacher of the Faith and father to so many!
With the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, our Ruling Bishop, His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America has been granted a leave of absence for the purpose of addressing his health.
The Orthodox holy object, myrrh-streaming icon of the Theotokos “Appeasing of Malicious Hearts”, otherwise named “Shot with Seven Arrows” has visited Los Angeles. The icon has arrived from Moscow and stayed in California for two weeks. On February 1, the icon was delivered to the St. John of Kronstadt Retirement Home. Russian Orthodox residents of the Home met the icon with joy and love. It was the first relic of such caliber that had visited their Home chapel.
1st / 14th January 2018: Significant progress is being made on a long-term frescoing project at the Monastery of St. Paisius in Safford, Arizona, a women’s monastery in the Western American Diocese that is operated with the blessing of both our Diocesan Bishop, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill, as well as the Head of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America, His Grace Bishop Maxim.
Construction of the central temple of the Monastery, known in monastic terminology as the catholicon, was completed some years ago, and the enormous basilica-style edifice dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos (feastday 15th / 28th August) rises high above the desert landscape and is visible for miles in all directions.
As the parishes of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia celebrate the feast of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, in the Diocesan Cathedral in honor of the Icon of the Mother of God “Joy of All Who Sorrow” His Grace Theodosy Bishop of Seattle and His Grace Irenei Bishop of Sacramento along with the clergy and faithful gathered around our Ruling Bishop His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America to perform the “Rite of Orthodoxy” with the solemn pronouncement of the Anathemas.
The Great Schema Archimandrite Averky (the former Archimandrite AnastassyZagarsky) passed away today, in Russia, at the age of 102. Father Anastassy served many parishes in San Francisco, including the Kazan church, Old Cathedral, St. Tikhon's and St. Sergius. Upon retirement, he was attached to the new Holy Virgin Cathedral for a few years and later moved to a monastery in Tula.
I was invited to attend as a young adult volunteer the Eleventh Annual Saint Herman's West Youth Conference, held in Seattle, Washington, December 26-28, 2017. It was hosted by the St. Nicholas Cathedral Parish. I was joined by seventeen other volunteers whose backgrounds ranged from being cradle Orthodox to recent converts. Our ages spanned from the early twenties to the mid-thirties. The common denominator for all of us was not only to grow our own spiritual lives, but to help grow the spiritual lives of the Orthodox youth.
Beloved in the Lord Brethren Archpastors, Honorable Fathers,
Brothers and Sisters, God-Beloved Flock of the Russian Church Abroad:
It is with a feeling of the greatest joy that I express my heartfelt greetings on the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ and the approaching feast day of the Baptism of the Lord!
As expressed in one of our church prayers celebrating this holy event, when God deemed it good to appear on Earth, the entire world hastened to bring him gifts: “The Angels offer a hymn; the heavens, a star; the Wise Men, gifts; the shepherds, their wonder; the earth, its cave; the wilderness, a manger.”
The Media Department of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has published two lectures from the XXVI Annual Russian Orthodox Church Musicians Conference held at the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Los Angeles, CA, from the 4 to the 8 of October, 2017.