The summer Mastery Class for choir conductors, led by Maestro Vladimir Gorbik and organized by the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music ("PaTRAM") Institute under the direction of Alexis Lukianov, was held July 6-12 at Moscow’s Holy Trinity-St. SergiusLavraMetochionChurch.
During their studies, choir conductors in the U.S., Australia, and Russia had an opportunity to receive unique knowledge and perfect their technique of conducting, as well as to meet with Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and conduct the choir during hierarchal Liturgy, celebrated by His Grace on the feast of the Holy Leaders of the Apostles Peter & Paul.
With the blessing of His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia, and the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, His Grace took part in the master class and led the divine services in the Lavra Metochion.
Bishop Nicholas arrived in Moscow on Monday, July 10. He was greeted in Holy Trinity Metochion by its rector, Archimandrite Dionysius (Kolesnik), and Hieromonk Augustine (Ivanov). After a brotherly luncheon, Bishop Nicholas was acquainted with the history of the Metochion and shown its various buildings and holy icons and relics. One of the most revered icons of the Metochion is the Icon of the Mother of God "It is Truly Meet" in the Athonite style. This is a copy of a wonderworking Athonite icon, located in the Protaton cathedral church of Karyes, the capital of Mount Athos. It was brought to the Moscow Metochion on June 16, 1999. Another holy image – the Icon of the Life-Creating Trinity – was painted on a board from the Oak of Mamre and blessed on the Lord’s Tomb. It was presented to Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra by the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem in 1912. Also kept at the Metochion are two reliquary crosses, which contain more than twenty pieces of relics of saints revered in Russia.
On Tuesday, July 11, Bishop Nicholas prayed with the brethren at the morning services, and then blessed the master class participants, Vladimir Gorbik, and Alexis Lukianov, thanking them for their organizational labors, and answered questions posed by participants before wishing them all God’s aid.
That same evening, on the eve of the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter & Paul, His Grace served at the All-Night Vigil alongside Metochion clergy.
Singing the service in Holy Trinity Church was the choir under the direction of Maestro Vladimir Gorbik, with the participation of the PaTRAM conductors. For them, the master class concluded with the Vigil and the Divine Liturgy on the very day of the feast.
On Wednesday, July 11, Bishop Nicholas celebrated the later, hierarchal Liturgy in Holy Trinity Metochion. At the Little Entrance, His Grace awarded ROCOR cleric Archpriest Peter Holodny, currently fulfilling his obedience in Moscow, the right to wear the jeweled cross.
Upon completion of the service, Bishop Nicholas thanked the brethren for their hospitality and joint prayer, and especially noted the labors of the Patriarch Tikhon Russian-American Music Institute, its director Alexis Lukianov, and Vladimir Gorbik, and thanked the singers for their beautiful singing. His Grace expressed his joy that he was able to become more closely acquainted with the participants of the master class, and wished that they might be able more frequently to gather in various places and sing the divine services.
After Liturgy, the brethren of the Metochion and the faithful proceeded to an open luncheon with the Rite of the Panagia.
During his visit to Moscow, Bishop Nicholas also visited the Donskoy and Stretensky Monasteries, and on Friday, July 14, returned to New York City.