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March 2, 2010
South Canaan: The First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad and clergy of the Eastern American Diocese visited St. Tikhon’s Monastery

myfld4.lg.jpg (57782 bytes)On Tuesday morning, March 2, at the invitation of Abbot Sergius (Bowyer), delegates to the Eastern American Diocesan Lenten Retreat and Pastoral Conference, headed by the First Hierarch, Metropolitan Hilarion, and the vicar bishops, visited St. Tikhon’s Monastery (OCA) in South Canaan, PA. The First Hierarch was triumphantly greeted in the monastery’s main church, to the peal of bells, by Their Graces, Bishops Tikhon of Philadelphia and Melchisedek of Pittsburgh, Abbot Sergius, the brethren of the monastery, students of St. Tikhon’s Seminary, and the diocesan clergy. On behalf of the brethren, Abbot Sergius greeted Metropolitan Hilarion, thanking the First Hierarch for his blessing to hold today’s visit. Fr. Sergius underscored the importance of our unity, as well as the necessity of applying all of our efforts to gain an understanding of our common past. After all, Holy Trinity Monastery had its beginnings in St. Tikhon’s Monastery, where Archimandrite Panteleimon, the founder of Holy Trinity Monastery, at one time worked and prayed. In his reply, the Metropolitan expressed his sincere gratitude for the invitation, as well as his hope for beneficial developments by the Synodal commissions of the two Churches on dialog between the OCA and ROCOR. A tour of the monastery was conducted for the delegates, after which a bountiful luncheon was offered in the refectory by St. John's Parish. Prior to leaving for St.  John's, Metropolitan Hilarion returned to the monastery church to venerate the relics of St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre.

St. Tikhon’s Monastery is the first Orthodox monastery in the United States. Thanks to the efforts of Hieromonk Arseny (Chagovtsev – future Archbishop of Winnipeg who was also the rector of St. John the Baptist Church in Mayfield), the idea to build a monastery in America quickly became a reality. Despite Fr. Arseny’s having only arrived in America in 1902, by 1905 the idea received the blessing of Archbishop Tikhon (future holy hierarch and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia), who together with Fr. Arseny purchased land amidst the hills of northeastern Pennsylvania. The purchase was made possible through a donation from St. Tikhon who gave $1000. Fr. Arseny also donated $300, and four of his parishioners from Mayfield donated a total of $700. The first Divine Liturgy in and dedication of the monastery were performed by Bishop Raphael of Brooklyn (Hawaweeny – glorified in 2000). Besides the holy hierarchs Tikhon and Raphael, the life of the monastery also intertwined with the fates of three other holy God-pleasers: St. Nikolai (Velimirovich, author of the Prologue, the Serbian Lives of the Saints, and for some time rector of the monastery), St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre (Toth, whose reliquary is located inside the monastery’s cathedral), and Hieromartyr Alexander (Hotovitsky).  

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese