On Wednesday, June 11, 2008, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP received the newly elected and enthroned Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence, HILARION. His Eminence was elected and enthroned in May as the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York City following the death of His Eminence, Metropolitan LAURUS of thrice-blessed memory. Accompanying His Eminence was Protopresbyter Alexander Lebedeff, the Secretary of Inter-Orthodox Relations. Also present from the Antiochian Archdiocese were His Grace, ANTOUN, Bishop of Miami and the Southeast, Archpriest Thomas Zain, Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY and Mr. Charles Ajalat, the Archdiocesan Chancellor. Pictures from this historic meeting follow below.
Having met for the first time, the two hierarchs exchanged fraternal greetings and presented gifts to each other. Metropolitan PHILIP presented Metropolitan HILARION with the engolpion of Sts. Peter and Paul (the patrons of the Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East) and Father Alexander with the centennial pectoral cross. Metropolitan HILARION presented Metropolitan PHILIP with an exquisite icon of Our Lady of Kazan and a beautiful pictorial book about a wonder-working icon from Russia. The group then enjoyed a wonderful dinner together and exchanged thoughts and ideas about the life of their respective Archdioceses, and the Church in North America and around the world. In the end, the two pledged to work together and cooperate as they both work to build up the body of Christ on this continent and begin a new chapter in the history of inter-Orthodox Church relations in North America.
Following is a selection of pictures from this historic meeting.