“Be Thou exalted above the heavens, O God, and Thy glory is above all the earth.”
On May 4/17, 2017, His Eminence Kyrill Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America issued Decree No. 7E/2017 in which he bids the clergy and faithful of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Reconciliation within the Russian Orthodox Church, which took place 10 years ago on the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord.
At home, within the Diocese each parish will mark the anniversary on the Sunday following the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, May 15/28, 2017. This will include a Thanksgiving Molebin, which shall incorporate troparions to the "Reigning" Icon of the Mother of God and the Holy New-Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church. Where possible a cross procession shall be conducted. An analogion is to be prepared in each church with the icons of the Ascension of the Lord, the “Reigning” Mother of God and the Holy New-Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. If the church has relics of the New Martyrs, they too should be placed for veneration. Archbishop Kyrill directs all father-rectors to offer an edifying homily explaining the significance of this solemn festival.
The “Reigning” Icon of the Mother of God has special significance for this celebration, as this year marks the 100th Anniversary of her appearance, the same day Tsar Martyr Nicholas II was forced to abdicate from the Throne (2/15 March, 1917). From that day it has always been held that with the removal of the “Withholder” (the anointed Orthodox Tsar), the Queen of Heaven, the Most Pure Mother of God has reigned over the Russian people.
Additionally, the veneration of the Holy New-Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church worthily occupies our attention during these solemn days as their holy struggles also began 100 years ago. Notably, during the decade-long process that led to the Reconciliation in 2007, it was acknowledged that both the Church in Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia honored the suffering and blood of the New-Martyrs and Confessors. This recognition became an outward sign of the unity that had always existed within the Russian Church, and ultimately was the catalyst ushering swift reconciliation.
The New-Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, these heavenly citizens and dwellers of paradise, have been crucified with Christ and have risen with Him. They are the First-born of the Russian Church. Suffering with their blood here on earth, they have united us one to another. Most importantly, they have united us with things heavenly through Christ our God, Who died on the Cross, rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. “And, having made peace through the Blood of His Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in Heaven (Col. 1:20).
Western American Diocese
The Decree issued by His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill may be read here (scroll down to the second page for English).