With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, the restored Smolensk “Hodigitria” Icon of the Mother of God was brought to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, where it will be available for veneration until February 10. Then the icon will be transferred to the Cathedral of the Dormition in Smolensk, wherein it was kept from the 17th century onward.
Concelebrating with the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church were: Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Yuvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna, Patriarchal Vicar of the Moscow diocese; Metropolitan Vladimir of Chisinau and All Moldova; Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, head of the Central Asia metropolitan area; Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch for All Belarus; Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; Metropolitan Alexander of Riga and All Latvia; and hierarchs who had arrived in Moscow to take part in the Bishops’ Conference of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Among those who concelebrated with His Holiness were also representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia: Metropolitan Athanasios of Kyrenaika (Orthodox Church of Alexandria); Bishop Antonije of Moravicí (Serbian Orthodox Church); Archimandrite Stephan (Dispirakis) (Orthodox Church of Jerusalem); Archimandrite Feoktist (Dimitrov) (Bulgarian Orthodox Church); and Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky) (Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia).
During the Little Entrance, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill elevated Bishop Pavel of Khanty-Mansiysk and Surgut and Bishop Vladimir of Chita and Transbaikalia to the rank of metropolitans.
After the Litany of Fervent Supplication, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church offered a prayer for peace in Ukraine.
After the Liturgy, a thanksgiving was said.
On behalf of the members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry read out the congratulatory address to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and presented him with an icon of the Saviour.
Mr. Alexander Beglov, Plenipotentiary Presidential Envoy to the Central Federal District, greeted the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s Ministry of Culture, told His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and all those present about the restoration of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God.
The Smolensk “Hodigitria” Icon accompanied the Russian army during the War of 1812. Before the Battle of Borodino, the miracle-working icon was brought to the battlefield on the order of the Commander-in-Chief, Mikhail Kutuzov. There a prayer service was said in the presence of the Commander-in-Chief and the army. As Mr. Medinsky noted, the research done during the restoration proved that the icon had been written at the turn of the 16th century.
The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church addressed the worshippers with a primatial homily.