+Benjamin visits Russia
4th February 2010
Hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America visits Russia
On Thursday evening, February 4, 2010, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, Representative of the Orthodox Church in America to the Moscow Patriarchate, together with Mr. Ivan N. Sudosa, the Chief of Protocol of the St. Petersburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church met His Grace, Bishop BENJAMIN of San Francisco and the West, a permanent member of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America upon arrival in St. Petersburg.
After a short rest, His Grace, together with an ecumenical group of pilgrims from Seattle who have worked together on various projects focusing on education and social work with the Russian Orthodox Church’s Diocese of St. Petersburg over the last 20 years, met for a dinner hosted by the Diocese in honor of their arrival.
At the dinner, His Grace together with those accompanying him were officially welcomed by representatives of the Diocese of St. Petersburg on behalf of His Eminence, Metropolitan VLADIMIR of St. Petersburg and Ladoga. Likewise, Archimandrite Zacchaeus, the Moscow Representative of the Orthodox Church in America welcomed Bishop BENJAMIN and his fellow pilgrims to Russia and wished them a blessed pilgrimage to the holy places of St. Petersburg and elsewhere. Father Zacchaeus also spoke about the Orthodox understanding of the place of the Bishop within the life of the Church and expressed his delight in the fact that the non-Orthodox guests will have the privilege of travelling to Orthodox holy places with a hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America who not only is deeply entrenched in the traditions of Holy Orthodoxy, but also due to his own personal background can “speak Protestant” and therefore help build bridges between the Orthodox Church and the
pilgrims of different faiths. In prayerful memory of the visit, Archimandrite Zacchaeus presented Bishop BENJAMIN with a cloisonné anointing brush to be used during Divine Services and also the newly released film produced in honor of the recent 15th anniversary of the establishment of St. Catherine the Great Martyr Church as the Moscow Representation of the Orthodox Church in America.
The Orthodox clergy traveling with Bishop BENJAMIN are Archpriest John Anderson, Associate Priest of St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas, Texas and Priest Christopher Swanson, the Rector of St Elizabeth Mission in Poulsbo, Washington.
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