Here at Orthodoxy in Dialogue we’ve wondered since mid-December how the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) would respond to ecclesiastical developments in Ukraine, what was taking them so long to make up their minds, and finally if there was any significance to the fact that their “Archpastoral Letter on Ukraine” came out on January 28.
Lo and behold, while preparing The OCA: Moscow’s Pawns in America & the American Region of “Russkii Mir” for publication a short while ago, we went to the OCA website to get the link for the aforementioned Archpastoral Letter. There we learned that, earlier today—just two days after doing the Kremlin’s bidding in writing—Metropolitan Tikhon and entourage landed in Moscow to pay obeisance in person to their liege lord.
Did the Patriarch threaten to rescind the Metropolitan’s invite to his self-congratulations party if the OCA Synod didn’t get off the pot and issue a Ukraine statement pronto? Did Moscow send Syosset an approved text for the latter’s Archpastoral Letter?
These questions don’t seem entirely beyond the pale of possibility.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019—His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and a delegation from the Orthodox Church in America arrived in Moscow, Russia, where they are joining representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches for the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the election and enthronement of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow as Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Accompanying Metropolitan Tikhon are His Grace, Bishop Daniel of Santa Rosa; Archpriest Alexander Rentel, Chancellor; Archpriest Daniel Andrejuk, OCA Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate; Melanie Ringa, Treasurer; Archdeacon Joseph Matusiak; and Subdeacon Roman Ostash.
Other Local Churches—including the Churches of Alexandria, Antioch, Serbia, the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and others—will be represented by their respective Primates or similar delegations.
Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA delegation met with Patriarch Kirill shortly after their arrival today. On Thursday, January 31, they will visit the Embassy of the United States of America in Moscow. In the evening, they will attend a special anniversary concert in the State Kremlin Palace. The following morning, Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA’s clergy representatives will concelebrate at the anniversary Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
On Saturday, February 2, Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA delegation will visit the Donskoy Monastery, where they will venerate the relics of Saint Tikhon of Moscow. Later in the day, they will visit the Sretensky Theological Seminary and Monastery. Metropolitan Tikhon will celebrate the Vigil at the Sretensky Monastery’s Church of the Resurrection on Saturday evening. On Sunday, February 3, he will preside at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the OCA’s Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine. Among the concelebrants will be His Grace, Bishop Matthew of Sourozh.
Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA delegation will return to the US on Sunday evening.
Patriarch Kirill was elected in January 2009 following the repose of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexy II in December 2008. He was enthroned as the 16th Patriarch of Moscow on February 1, 2009. Metropolitan Tikhon, who at that time was Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, represented the OCA at the Patriarch’s enthronement.