The close ties had existed between Russia and the Orthodox East long before the Mission was created. The first Russian pilgrims came to venerate the shrines of the Holy Land shortly after Rus’ had embraced Christianity.
On the 11th/23rd of February 1847, the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem was established by the decision of Emperor Nicholas I. The Mission was to become a sign of “visible unity of the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch and Russia,” to take care of pilgrims, to carry out missionary activities, and to help organize schools and seminaries.
Through the efforts of the heads of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission – Archimandrite Porphyrius (Uspensky), Archimandrite Leonid (Kavelin), Archimandrite Leonid (Sentsov), and, of course, Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin) – the Mission grew, developing its ecclesiastical and economic activities and gradually turning into the remarkable phenomenon known today as “Russian Palestine.”
This year is marked by several memorable dates, such as the 135th anniversary of the establishment of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, the 145th anniversary of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Jerusalem, the 170th anniversary of the foundation of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin), one of the most renowned servants of the Russian Church in the Holy Land.
These memorable dates will be celebrated throughout the year, the Press Service of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem reports.