His Holiness Patriarch Kirill visits Harbin
On 13 May 2013, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, currently on a visit to China, visited St. Sophia Cathedral in Harbin. He was accompanied by Ambassador Andrei Denisov of the Russian Federation to the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Sergei Paltov, Russian Consul General in Shenyang, Mr. Zhang Lebin, deputy director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs under the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, and members of the official delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Staff members of the municipal architecture and art museum housed in the building of the cathedral told His Holiness about its history.
Patriarch Kirill recalled the destruction of Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow and underlined the importance of preserving any traces of Russian presence in China for the development of relations between China and Russia.
His Holiness and his suite sang Paschal troparion.
Patriarch Kirill celebrated Divine Liturgy at Intercession Church in Harbin
On May 14, 2013, Radonitsa, the day of the joy of the Resurrection when the memory of the dead is celebrated after Pascha, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the church of the Protecting Veil in Harbin.
There were a great many Orthodox Chinese and Russian-speaking compatriots, but not all of them had an opportunity to enter the church. Upon his arrival at the church, His Holiness came up to believers who gathered in the street and talked to them and bestowed on them his primatial benediction.
Among his concelebrants were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, Bishop Sergiy of Solnechnogorsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s administrative secretariat, Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, vice-chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, Archpriest Dionisy Pozdnyaev, rector of the church of Ss Peter and Paul in Hong Kong, Archpriest Sergiy Yakut, dean of the Vladivostok diocese’s second district, and
Rev. Sergiy Voronin, rector of the church of the Assumption at the Russian embassy in China.
The church was prepared and renovated by the Diocese of Vladivostok, whose priests also helped to take confessions from those who wished to take the Holy Communion.
The liturgy was celebrated on the corporal, which used to be in the church of Our Lady of Tabyn in Beijing. It is signed by Archbishop Victor (Svyatin) of China and Beijing, head of the 20th Russian Orthodox Mission in China. The choir of the New Monastery of the Saviour in Moscow sang, and the Holy Gospel was read in Church Slavonic and Chinese.
Among the worshippers were Russia Ambassador A. Denisov, V. Legoida, head of the Synodal Information Department, and S. Paltov, Russian general consul in Shenyang. During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, a prayer was lifted up for the victims of the flood in China.
During the service, liturgical mentioned was made of the dead archpastors, pastors and lay people of the Russian Orthodox Mission and the Chinese Autonomous Orthodox Church.
After the Divine Liturgy, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church addressed the clergy and numerous faithful, noting that Radonitsa is the day when the dead are remembered after Pascha. Besides, due to the fact that in 2013 the Victory Day fell on the Bright Week, a special annual commemoration of the dead warriors who died for the faith, the Motherland and the people and all those who were killed during the Great Patriotic War was made on the Radonitsa Day.
As a token of the Patriarchal service in Harbin, the Primate of the Russian Church presented the church of the Protecting Veil with the Gospel for the communion table and the liturgical Apostolos.
The parishioners greeted His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. Speaking on behalf of the community, the warden Catherine Uy Shun said, ‘We have eagerly excepted your coming and can assure you that we will keep this church forever’.
The community presented Patriarch Kirill with canvasses executed in traditional Chinese manner, bearing the images of the church of the Protecting Veil in Harbin and roses and a quotation of the Gospel from Matthews.
After that His Holiness had a talk with children who came to Harbin for medical treatment and blessed them.
All those present at the service received small icons of the Risen Christ.