Archbishop Leo of Finland, Valaam Icon of Mother of God, begins pilgrimage visit to OCA Article posted: 8/1/2005 3:35 PM
SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Finland and a delegation from the autonomous Orthodox Church of Finland arrived in New York on Friday, July 29, 2005, for an official 14-day visit to the Orthodox Church in America.
Accompanying Archbishop Leo is the wonderworking icon of the Valaam Mother of God, enshrined in Finland's New Valaam Monastery.
The visit comes at the invitation of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, who had made an official visit to the Finnish Church in 2004.
Metropolitan Herman, accompanied by His Grace, Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada; His Grace, Bishop Nikon of Boston and the Albanian Archdiocese; Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA chancellor; and members of the chancery staff, met Archbishop Leo and his entourage at New York's Kennedy Airport on Friday, July 29. Metropolitan Herman officially welcomed the Archbishop at the chancery's Saint Sergius of Radonezh Chapel, where a Service of Thanksgiving before the Valaam Icon of the Mother of God was celebrated.
On Saturday morning, Prof. John Erickson, dean of Saint Vladimir's Seminary, Crestwood, NY, welcomed Archbishop Leo in the seminary chapel and hosted him for breakfast with members of the seminary faculty. Later the same day, the Archbishop and the Valaam Icon were greeted at the entrance to Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery, South Canaan, PA, by His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania; clergy and members of the monastic brotherhood; and numerous faithful. The icon was carried in procession to the monastery church, where Metropolitan Herman presided at the celebration of a Service of Thanksgiving. That evening, Metropolitan Herman celebrated the All-Night Vigil for participants in the conference of monastics that was being held, while Archbishop Leo and Bishop Tikhon attended Great Vespers at Saint Michael the Archangel Church, Jermyn, PA, where they were welcomed by the rector, the Very Rev. John Kowalczyk, chancellor of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern
On Tuesday, August 2, Metropolitan Herman and Archbishop Leo and the Finnish delegation will travel to Alaska to participate in the celebration of the 35th anniversary of the glorification of Saint Herman of Alaska.
Accompanying Archbishop Leo are Archimandrite Sergey of New Valaam Monastery, Mother Marina of Finland's Lintula Monastery, and Mrs. Sirpa Anttonen of the New Valaam Lay Academy.
The Orthodox Church in America is the first autocephalous church that the Valaam Icon of the Mother of God is visiting since it was enshrined in Finland's New Valaam Monastery over 100 years ago.
The Orthodox Church of Finland is an autonomous Church within the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. For many years it has enjoyed a close relationship with the Orthodox Church in America, in part due to the fact that Saint Herman and his missionary companions came from the Valaam Monastery in Russian Karelia. During World War II, the monastery was evacuated, with many monks relocating to Finnish Karelia, where they established the New Valaam Monastery. The Valaam Icon of the Mother of God was saved from certain destruction and enshrined in the New Valaam monastery church, where it remains to this day.
Click here for photos of Archbishop Leo's trip during July 29th - 31st [scroll to bottom of page].
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