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Yesterday’s Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow officially recognized the Feast of All the Saints of the Isles and agreed to include a number of these Saints into the Menologion of the Church. Apart from accepting these English and Celtic Saints, it also introduced six recently canonized Romanian saints, three recently canonized Greek saints, eight Russian New Martyrs and Confessors and also a Hungarian saint, St Stephen I, King of Hungary (+ 1038), into its Menologion. In June, His Holiness Patriarch Alexis was presented with a relic of St Stephen, which is now enshrined for the veneration of all the faithful in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. At the same time the Synod announced the creation of several new parishes in Germany, Belgium and Italy and several new monasteries inside Russia.

Meanwhile, also in Moscow, the World Assembly of the Russian People has been setting out ‘The Russian Doctrine’, an alternative to the current ideology of the secular West. Orthodox hierarchs, politicians, businessmen, economists and academics have all taken part in discussions in St Daniel’s Monastery in Moscow to elaborate this Orthodox alternative to the current anti-Christian ideology of Western globalization and political correctness. The concept is designed to ensure that Orthodox Russia has its own independent and self-sufficient economy and can develop a series of economic, scientific and technological projects, putting Russia and Orthodoxy back onto the world stage, as they were before 1917.
It has also been announced that, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia, an official delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, headed by His Eminence Metropolitan Isidor of Ekaterinodar and Kuban, will participate in celebrating the re-establishment of canonical unity within the Russian Orthodox Church.
This delegation, accompanied by the famous Sretensky Choir, will be visiting churches and monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia all over the world. The visitors will have with them an icon dear to the heart of every Orthodox Christian, the Derzhavnaya or Reigning Icon of the Mother of God.
The members of the delegation and the choir of the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow will also participate in celebrating the 40th anniversary of the episcopal service of the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of New York and Eastern America.
In addition to participating in divine services in New York, Jordanville, Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco, Melbourne, Sydney, Geneva, Berlin, London and Paris, the Sretensky Choir will also perform in the great concert halls of these cities.

On the Reigning Icon of the Mother of God

The miracle-working ‘Reigning’ icon of the Mother of God was found the very day that the Orthodox Emperor, Nicholas II, was forced to abdicate from the Russian throne – 2/15 March 1917. The Russian Orthodox people accepted this occurrence as a witness that the ultimate authority over and care for Russia had passed to the Queen of Heaven Herself.
On February 13 1917, the Most Holy Mother of God appeared in a dream to a peasant girl called Evdokia and said these words to her: ‘There is a large, dark icon in the village of Kolomenskoe. It must be taken from there; the people must pray’. On 26 February, in a second dream, the girl saw a white church and a majestic Lady inside it. The peasant girl decided to search for the church she had seen in her dream. On 2 March in the village of Kolomenskoe, near Moscow, she recognized the Church of the Lord's Ascension as that very church. A diligent search by the girl and the church's rector revealed a large, dark icon of the Mother of God - the very image that had revealed itself to Evdokia in her dream.
The icon soon came to be venerated as miraculous; many copies were painted of it, and it was taken to all the surrounding villages, monasteries, churches - even factories -throughout Moscow, and services of intercession were celebrated. A service and akathist were written at the blessing and with the participation of Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow and all Russia. (Later, another service was published at the Jordanville Monastery).
The icon’s name corresponds to its iconography. The Mother of God is represented as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Robed in a green gown and red garments reminiscent of an imperial mantle, She is seated on a throne, her right hand bearing a sceptre, her left hand resting on an orb. On her head is a crown encircled by a golden halo. The Infant Christ sits on her knees, His right hand raised in blessing, His left hand pointing towards the orb.
It is thought that the ‘Reigning’ icon, painted in the 18th century, was earlier located in the Ascension Convent of the Moscow Kremlin, from which it was taken to Kolomenskoe during the Napoleonic invasion of 1812.
After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the Ascension Church was closed; the icon and other holy objects from that church were taken to various storage rooms of the State Historical Museum, where they remained for seven decades.
The miracle-working icon's return coincided with Russia’s liberation from the yoke of the godless regime. At the end of the 1980s, through the efforts of Metropolitan Pitirim (Nechayev) of Volokolamsk and Yuriev and of Archimandrite Innokenty (Prosvirnin), the icon was discreetly moved, on orders from the director of the museum, K.G. Levykin, to the publishing department of the Moscow Patriarchate, and kept for several years in the altar of the house church dedicated to St Joseph of Volokolamsk.
On 27 July 27 1990, with the blessing of His Holiness Alexis, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Orthodox clergy and faithful of Moscow triumphantly carried the icon to Kolomenskoe to be placed in the Kazan Church, which had not been closed. The icon was installed on the right choir. Since that time, every Sunday, the akathist hymn composed under Patriarch Tikhon’s patronage, has been read before the miracle-working icon of the ‘Reigning’ Mother of God.

The Sretensky Monastery Choir

In 1994 the Sretensky Monastery (The Monastery of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon) in Moscow was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and the Sretensky Choir was organized. The Choir sings the Divine services several days per week in the Monastery church, using ancient chants. It also frequently participates in the services celebrated by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II in the Dormition Cathedral, located in the Moscow Kremlin.
Apart from its participation in the services, the choir has an active concert life both in Russia and abroad, in which it performs Russian folk songs and romances that reflect old cultural traditions and the Russian soul. It has performed at Notre Dame in Paris, the UNESCO Hall and the Russian House in Belgrade. It has also participated in the First International Choir Festival in St Petersburg in June 2007.
Its members are part of the monastery community, a fact which influences the repertoire and the style of its interpretations. The choir’s artistic director and conductor is Nikon Zhila, a graduate of the Russian Gnessin Academy of Music.

Schedule of Divine Services in Celebration of the Restoration of Communion Within the Unified Russian Orthodox Church

September 1, Saturday, New York
6:00 pm – All-Night Vigil Service at St Nicholas Cathedral on E 97th Street

September 2, Sunday, New York
10:00 am – Divine Liturgy at St Nicholas Cathedral on E 97th Street

September 3, Monday, Jordanville
9:00 am – Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity Monastery

September 5, Wednesday, Boston
7:00 pm – Memorial Service for Archpriest Roman Lukianov at the Church of the Theophany

September 7, Friday, Toronto
6:00 pm – All-Night Vigil Service at Holy Trinity Cathedral

September 8, Saturday – Meeting of the Icon of Our Lady of Vladimir, Toronto
9:00 am – Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral

September 9, Sunday, Chicago
10:00 am– Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Protecting Veil

September 10, Monday, Washington
6:00 – All-Night Vigil Service at St John the Baptist Cathedral

September 11, Tuesday – The Beheading of St John the Baptist, Washington
9:30 – Divine Liturgy at St John the Baptist Cathedral

September 15, Saturday, San Francisco
5:00 pm – Canon of Supplication at the relics of St John of Shanghai
6:00 pm – All-Night Vigil Service at the Cathedral

September 16, Sunday, San-Francisco
9:00 am – Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral (with the local choir)

September 20, Thursday, Dandenong (Melbourne)
6:00 pm – All-Night Vigil Service at the Church of the Dormition

September 21, Friday – Nativity of the Theotokos, Melbourne
9:00 am – Divine Liturgy at the new Cathedral of the Protecting Veil

September 22, Saturday, Sydney
6:00 pm – All-Night Vigil Service at the Church of the Protecting Veil in Cabramatta

September 23, Sunday, Sydney
9:00 am – Divine Liturgy at Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral

September 26, Wednesday, Geneva

All-Night Vigil Service at the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross

September 27, Thursday, Geneva
Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross Cathedral

September 29, Saturday, Berlin
Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ

September 30, Sunday, London
Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Dormition

October 3, Thursday, Paris
Service of Intercession, Notre Dame de Paris

World Tour Schedule
For complete tour information, please visit

New York Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 8pm
Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center

Boston Thursday, September 6th, 2007 at 8pm
Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College

Toronto Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 8pm
Toronto Centre for the Arts

Chicago Sunday, September 9th, 2007 at 7pm
Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center

Washington, DC Wednesday, September 12th, 2007 at 8pm
Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress

San Francisco Friday, September 14, 2007 at 8pm
Davies Symphony Hall

Melbourne Friday, September 21, 2007 at 8pm
St Paul's Cathedral

Sydney Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 5pm
Sydney Town Hall

Geneva Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 8:30pm
Grand Casino

Berlin Friday, September 28, 2007 at 8pm
Berliner Dom

London Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 7pm
Cadogan Hall

Paris Thursday, October 4, 2007 at 7pm
Notre Dame

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