Crestwood, NY - On 23 January 2010, a delegation from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological seminary (New York, USA) took part in the All-Night Vigil at the Church of the “Joy to All Afflicted” Icon of the Mother of God in Bolshaya Ordynka Str., Moscow. Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for external church relations and rector of the church, officiated at the Divine Service.

After the All-Night Vigil Archbishop Hilarion extended cordial greetings from the ambo to archpriest John Behr and archpriest Chad Hatfield, dean and chancellor of St. Vladimir’s Seminary respectively.

His Eminence remarked that distinguished representatives of the Orthodox Church in America were in Moscow on the occasion of awarding St. Vladimir’s Seminary the prize of the Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations. The ceremony took place at the Hall of Church Councils in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on January 21. The Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are among the prizewinners; His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia delivered the prizes.

Archbishop Hilarion underscored that for several decades St. Vladimir’s Orthodox seminary had been a major scholarly and missionary centre in North America. The theological school teaches students from different countries, Russia included. His Eminence told those present that he had visited St. Vladimir’s seminary more than once, meeting with the faculty and lecturing the students.

The eminent guests presented the DECR chairman with the icon of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, canonized by the Orthodox Church in America, to commemorate their communion in prayer. St. Raphael was vicar and assistant to St. Tikhon during his ministry on the North American continent.

During the dinner that followed, Archbishop Hilarion, the dean and the chancellor of St. Vladimir’s seminary discussed cooperation of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Orthodox Church in America, and between St. Vladimir’s seminary and the Ss Cyril and Methodius Post-Graduate and Doctoral Programme of the Russian Orthodox Church.


Teachings of Christ

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Joachiam and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Holy Forefathers

Through faith, O Christ, you justified the Forefathers, * betrothing through them in advance the Church of the gentiles. * The Saints exult in glory, * for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: * she who gave birth to You without seed. * Through their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us. (Troparion, Tone 2)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You did not honor a hand-depicted image, O thrice-blessed ones, * but defended by the undepicted Being you were glorified in a trial by fire. * And, standing in the midst of unbearable flame, you called upon God: * “Hasten, O Compassionate One, and speed to our help, * for You are merciful and You can do whatever you will.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Second Sunday Before Christmas)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." (Proverbs 6:32 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We honor the relics of the martyrs, that we may adore Him whose martyrs they are. We honor the servants that their honor may be reflected upon their Lord who Himself says: "He that receives you receives me."

St. Jerome, Epistle 109:1, NPNF II, 6:212