A group of ROCOR clergy and parishioners, led by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad – Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York – is continuing its pilgrimage to the holy sites of Russia. On the road from Diveevo, the pilgrims visited Murom, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Godenovo, Khotkovo, and finally arrived in Sergiev Posad, in order to take part in the national celebrations for the feast day of Venerable Sergus, Abbot & Wonderworker of Radonezh.
On Tuesday, July 18, the feast of the finding of the precious relics of Venerable Sergius, Metropolitan Hilarion and a number of hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, concelebrated with His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia, who officiated at Divine Liturgy in Holy Dormition Cathedral of Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra.
Also among the concelebrating clergy were representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches: Metropolitan Niphon of Philippopolis, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch & All the East to the Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia; Metropolitan Pavlos of Kozani & Servia (Greek Orthodox Church); Bishop Antonije of Moravica, representative of the Patriarch of Serbia to the Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia; Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa, vicar of the Diocese of San Francisco (Orthodox Church in America); Archimandrite Christopher (Angelopoulos), protosyncellus of the Kozani Metropolitanate of the Greek Orthodox Church
Among those praying in church were delegates to the 10th International Conference of the Orthodox Youth Fellowship.
Upon completion of the Liturgy, His Holiness, Patriarch Kyrill, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, members of the Holy Synod and all of the hierarchs who came to the feast at the Lavra served a moleben on the Cathedral Square before a sacred icon of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh.
From the balcony of the Patriarchal Residence, the head of the Russian Church then addressed the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful with a primatial sermon.
For the feast day, in accordance with tradition divine services were held in every church of Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra and the Moscow theological schools, officiated by hierarchs of the Russian church.
That same day, upon completion of Liturgy, the Most Holy Patriarch presented ecclesiastical awards to hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as to the representative of the Antiochian Patriarchate, in the Throne Room of the Patriarchal Residence.
For his services to the church and in honor of the decennial of the restoration of canonical community within the one Russian Church, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, was awarded the right to wear the second panagia within the Russian Church Abroad.
On Wednesday, July 19, Metropolitan Hilarion and the pilgrims visited Crimea. The Metropolitan and group of ROCOR church parishioners were greeted by Metropolitan Lazar of Simferopol & Crimea, who noted that the visit of Metropolitan Hilarion is a very important event for all Crimeans, as it is namely "the land of Crimea that is cradle of Russian Orthodoxy, which preserves unto this day a multitude of Orthodox shrines and relics."
The pilgrimage group was given a sightseeing tour of Simferopol and visited Holy Trinity Convent, where Metropolitans Hilarion and Lazar served a moleben at the relics of the Holy Hierarch Luke.
The pilgrimage group will remain in Crimea until July 25. Included in their program is Holy Dormition Caves Monastery, acquaintance with the mountains of Crimea and the holy sites of Bakhchisaray, Sevastopol, historical sites in the city and Orthodox churches, the Inkerman Caves Monastery, Chersonesus, and St. Vladimir Cathedral.