On Monday, May 15, the Russian Mt. Athos Institute’s archeographical group – headed by its director, V.I. Pirogov, and academic director, D.V. Zubov – visited arrived in the United States. Deacon Andrei Psarev, professor at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY, assisted the delegation in its work.
On Tuesday, May 16, the delegation visited St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ. They discussed prospects for publishing materials relating to the Russian presence on Mt. Athos and the Russian diaspora. Archpriest Serge Lukianov, secretary of the Eastern American Diocese, warmly greeted the group at St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ. That evening, the directors of the RMAI met with a youth group at St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City, organized by Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov), where they talked about Russian monasticism on Mt. Athos before a large audience, who attended from across New York City despite its being a work day.
On Wednesday, May 17, the delegation prayed at St. Seraphim of Sarov Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY, dedicated to the Reestablishment of Unity within the Russian Orthodox Church. Archpriest Serafim Gan, rector of the church, then met with the delegation along with his clergymen and parishioners. Divine Liturgy that day was celebrated to mark the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion, which was the topic of their discussion. Archival materials from the Russian emigration in Istanbul were also shared.
The key element of the delegation’s trip was a lengthy discussion with His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. Metropolitan Hilarion approved of the delegation’s work and emphasized the importance of examining the role played by the Russian Church Abroad in the history of the Russian presence on Mt. Athos.
On Thursday, May 18, Michael Perekrestov, curator of the Holy Trinity Monastery Museum and A.A. Lyubimov, director of Holy Trinity Seminary Library in Jordanville, NY, met with the delegates. They reviewed pertinent materials in these collections which fills gaps in the study of the Russian presence on Mt. Athos.
Archbishop Luke (Murianka), abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery and rector of HTS, welcomed the scholars, and gave his blessing for continued joint work. The directors of the RMAI then delivered a talk on the status of Mt. Athos today to an audience from the monastery and seminary, which was followed by a question-and-answer session, at which Pirogov and Zubov shared their impressions of visits to the pillar of world Orthodoxy that is Mt. Athos.
On Sunday, May 21, the scholars prayed during Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia in Brooklyn, NY. Parish cleric Archpriest Petro Kunitsky and parish leaders warmly welcomed the delegation, and discussed the work of the RMAI, the representatives of which gave the parish a gift of published materials for the parish library.
The directors of the RMAI were moved by the attention paid to their work and expressed the hope that this trip will enhance the tenth anniversary celebrations of the ecclesiastical unity reestablished within the much-suffering Russian Church.