Moscow region, Sergiev Posad, Lavra, Academy

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Academy celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Intercession of the Theotokos church.

On February 25th, Church honors the memory of St. Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow. Also this day became a holiday for the Moscow Theological Academy as on the feast day of St. Alexis, the Intercession Academic Church was consecrated 150 years ago. 

It may seem that the Intercession Church has existed since the foundation of the Moscow Theological Academy, but it is not so. Although the Academy was located on the territory of the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Laura since 1814, for more than 50 years it had not had its own church. This is due to the conviction of St. Filaret (Drozdov) that there were enough churches in Laura so it was pointless to increase their number. Therefore, evening services were performed by the academic priesthood in the most spacious room of the Academy, and in the Liturgy academic teachers and students prayed in the Laura.

Only after St. Filaret’s death, thanks to the efforts of archpriest Alexander Gorsky, Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy, and with the blessing of St. Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomensk, it was decided to establish a church in honour of the Intercession of the Theotokos and in memory of the grand opening of the Academy on this day in 1814. The church was constructed at the expense of a philanthropist, a representative of the famous merchant dynasty Alexei Tolokonnikov. In honor of the patron saint of the academic church benefactor, the consecration took place on February 12, 1870, on the day St. Alexy of Moscow. 

On the feast day of St. Alexis of Moscow, the Intercession Academic Church marks 150 years, so these two holidays are connected.

To the sharing throne with the apostles, and the beautiful healer, and the servant pleasing to God, we come to your shrine Reverend Saint Alexy the Wise, the Wondermaker; gathered together with love on the day of your memory, we celebrate rejoicing in psalms and spiritual hymns and glorify Christ who granted you such grace of healing and your city a great power».

The academic church is a place where seminarians carry out their liturgical practice and from which future pastors come out. Deacon and presbyter ordinations take place almost every Sunday or festive days.  

One of the main purposes of the academic church is to give some liturgical skills and knowledge to future pastors. Hieromartyr Hilarion (Troitskiy), Archbishop of Verea, said:

What is the glory of the academic church? It is the same as the highest glory of the Academy itself. Every institution is glorious as far it justifies the purpose for which it exists. The purpose of the Academy is clear and definite and consists of providing well-educated clergy for the Church. This is the reason for opening High theological schools. There are no other intentions and should not be».

On February 24, an evening service was performed by the bishop of Zvenigorod Pitirim in the academic church in honour of the Intercession of Theotokos.

During the evening service, a fourth-year student Vladislav Savchenko said a sermon in which he stressed out on the importance of a prayer and love for one's neighbor.

The Christian’s life is inconceivable without a prayer, however, the most important thing is not to forget about our neighbors. A key element of a prayer is to perform it reverently and attentively as well as to have faith in Jesus Christ and show your Christian love».

On February 25, the Divine Liturgy in the academic home church was performed by the bishop of Zvenigorod Pitirim together with ordained academic teachers and students.

During the antiphons singing, the bishop of Zvenigorod Pitirim delivered second-year Bachelor students Dmitry Kuzeyev, Sergey Lytkin, Mikhail Zhilyak, John Konstantinov and Lev Kutsenko into lectors.

After the Eucharistic canon, Rector of the Academy ordained a three-year student Anton Luzhansky into a deacon.

After the sacrament verse, a first-year Master student Ilya Ulyanov delivered a sermon:

Today, the Church celebrates the memory of St. Alexis, Metropolitan of Moscow, whose life we are all familiar with. There was an episode in his life when he, according to pagan attitude, was invited to conjure the health to Taydula, Horde khan’s mother. This event makes us wonder and ask. Why did the Orthodox with its monotheism and all-forgiving love correlate with other primitive worship cults? Are we not far from the Gentiles?

Despite all high standards of the Orthodox teachings, real Christianity is far from reaching its essence. In most Orthodox parishes we can see that the general attitude towards faith is not entirely right and correct. It runs through everything, even the Holy Communion might be taken as a tool for getting health or well-being, and more so-called spiritual people fall into the Eucharistic bondage because they take Communion due to fear of future troubles in case of refusal.

At the end of the service, Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy told about the academic church history and its thorny fate.

After the sermon, a thanksgiving public service was hold.

Background information:

Всенощное бдение в Покровском академическом храме совершил епископ Звенигородский Питирим. Ему сослужили: архимандриты Иларион (Форкавец), Венедикт (Князев), Платон (Игумнов), Лука (Головков), иеромонах Варнава (Лосев), игумены Адриан (Пашин), Мелетий (Соколов), протоиерей Сергий Забелич, иеромонахи Феодор (Юлаев), Аполлинарий (Панин), Нектарий (Райкович), Таврион (Смыков), Кассиан (Плоский), Василий (Муса), иерей Павел Лизгунов, иерей Валерий Духанин, диаконы Дмитрий Маслов, Стефан Мартенюк, иеродиакон Иннокентий (Глазистов), диакон Андрей Кравцов.

Божественную литургию в домовом храме Академии совершил епископ Звенигородский Питирим. Ему сослужили: архимандриты Иларион (Форкавец), Венедикт (Князев), Платон (Игумнов), Лука (Головков), иеромонах Варнава (Лосев), игумен Мелетий (Соколов), протоиерей Сергий Забелич, иеромонахи Феодор (Юлаев), Аполлинарий (Панин), Нектарий (Райкович),Таврион (Смыков), Кассиан (Плоский), Кирилл (Сорокин), Василий (Муса), иереи Павел Лизгунов, Валерий Духанин, диаконы Дмитрий Маслов, Стефан Мартенюк, иеродиакон Иннокентий (Глазистов), диакон Андрей Кравцов.

За богослужениями пели первый академический хор под управлением иеромонаха Нестора (Волкова) и второй академический хор под управлением Виталия Чувилова.

The MThA Press Office

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