The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill has consecrated after extensive renovation the largest Russian Church of the London Dormition Cathedral. During the service, which he spent “Many years” was sung for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second. At the end of his four-day visit to London, the Patriarch will meet with her in person. At celebrations in the assumption Cathedral was attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Prince Michael of Kent, having family ties with the Romanov dynasty, other dignitaries, members of Parliament, ambassadors. The Patriarch arrived in London immediately after the cancellation of the same (associated with the opening of the temple) Putin’s visit to Paris. Does this mean that Cyril takes not only spiritual but also a diplomatic mission?
— For many years the diocese of Sourozh was one of the most difficult and somewhat uncomfortable overseas dioceses of the Moscow Patriarchate, — said the “MK” theologian Sergei CHAPNIN. — This is due to the fact that until his death in 2003 it was headed by one of the most famous bishops and preachers of the twentieth century — Metropolitan Anthony (bloom). He was quite independent from Moscow, organized the life of the diocese on the basis of decisions of the local Council of 1917-18 years and actually declined from the rigid hierarchical structure that exists in Church life in Russia. He was outraged by the compromising policy of the Moscow Patriarchate after the Church in Soviet Russia has approved the expulsion of Solzhenitsyn, even wanted to abandon the title of Exarch. Moscow did not like this independence, but she was forced to endure: Metropolitan Anthony was known around the world.
In the last years of his life in the diocese of Sourozh there is a conflict between the old members and those who came from Russia in the 90-ies. In a sense the catalyst of this conflict was the Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev), immediately after his ordination sent to England and some time later returned to Russia. These days, Hilarion (Alfeyev) in the rank of Metropolitan accompanies Patriarch Kirill and serve with him.
I must say that 10 years ago, when the conflict is still not extinguished, Metropolitan Kirill (Gundyaev) visited London in connection with the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the Cathedral. This time, after major repairs, he sanctified it once again. Of course, for the community it is a great joy. But the community is fairly new, the old members have left not so much. The part went to another world, and some went together with a significant proportion of the clergy in Russian Exarchate subordinated to the Patriarch of Constantinople.
I think that Patriarch Kirill’s visit to England last but not least has a symbolic value: it completely covers the page in the history of the Russian Cathedral at Ennismore gardens, which is associated with Metropolitan Anthony. He is now only a “memorial plaque”. Life in the diocese of Sourozh is organized exactly the same as in Russia. And the new Sourozh Bishop invited the Patriarch in this to see for myself.