On November 6, 2021, the scientific and theological conference "Russian Orthodox Presence in the Holy Lebanese Land" was held in the "Russian House" in the capital of Lebanon. To the 75th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church's Compound in Beirut."
The participants and guests of the forum were welcomed by the rector of the Metochion Archimandrite Philip (Vasiltsev). "With this conference, we continue the program of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church's Compound in Beirut," he said.
Russian Russian House Head in Beirut V.I. Zaichikov addressed the audience with a greeting, emphasizing the important role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the history of relations between Russia and Lebanon. "It was the Russian Orthodox Church and its public organizations that stood at the origins of cooperation between the two states, whether it was the support of the Christian population, projects in the field of education and healthcare. Russian compatriots, who for one reason or another found themselves in Lebanon, have always found a piece of home and those spiritual bonds that inextricably linked them with Russia at the Compound of the Russian Orthodox Church in Beirut," he said, in particular.
In his opening remarks, Patriarchal Exarch of Western Europe, Head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for Foreign Institutions Metropolitan Anthony of Korsun and Western Europe noted: "We have started the program of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church's Metochion with the Divine Liturgy, with prayer. And during our prayer, the names of the clergy and parishioners who have made up the rich history of our Compound in Beirut over these 75 years were heard. Behind these names are the lives, destinies, milestones, the history of not only the Farmstead, but also the entire Lebanese state."
The Archpastor conveyed greetings and blessings of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to those present. "His Holiness pays great attention to the events that make up the celebration of the anniversary of our Compound. And in parting me on this trip, His Holiness the Patriarch expressed the hope that the festive events, including this conference, will make a significant contribution to strengthening fraternal relations between the Russian and Antiochian Orthodox Churches," Metropolitan Anthony said.
The representative of the Patriarch of Antioch to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Metropolitan Niphon of Philippopolis, told the participants and guests of the conference about his acquaintance with Russian Orthodoxy: Russian Russian Russian Russian Orthodox Church "When it was decided to open a Russian Church Compound in Beirut, I was still a little boy, but I remember that my spiritual mentor Metropolitan Niphon (Saba) of Zahle was very fond of the Russian Church, was friends with some Russian bishops, and sometimes Russian priests and their flock came to us in Zahle. I still didn't understand anything about geography and had a vague idea where the Soviet Union was, but I knew that there were Russians who believed like us, but did not sit down during the service and were baptized a lot."
"Then, when I got older, my mentor wanted me to go to study in Russia, in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra," continued Vladyka Niphon. – We met with a priest who was serving in Beirut at that time, and with Bishop John (Wendland), who was a representative of the Russian Church in Damascus. They were very happy, and Bishop John insisted that he would equip me for this trip himself, so it was inconvenient to refuse: he bought me a warm cassock and a plane ticket to Moscow. I never saw him again, but many years later I prayed at his grave in Yaroslavl. I remember that we met with them at some apartment in Beirut, and there I saw a very strange, as it seemed to me then, icon of the Mother of God – I was told that it was called "Accidental Joy". And then it so happened that in the church where I became rector in Moscow, the most revered icon turned out to be "An Unexpected Joy", and I fell in love with it so much that I am now building a temple in Zahle in honor of this image of the Most Holy Theotokos."
Metropolitan Niphon of Philippopolis remembered with a kind word another of the former rectors of the Russian Church's Compound in Beirut – Archpriest Pavel Statov: "I already studied at the Lavra, came to Lebanon for vacations, served with him several times in one of the chapels of the Annunciation Cathedral in Beirut, which was then given to the Russian Compound for service, visited him. He always treated us to Russian dishes, including very tasty pancakes. Father Paul was greatly appreciated by the then Metropolitan of Beirut, the ever-memorable Vladyka Elijah (Saliba) and, I remember, always invited him on the second day of Easter to concelebrate at the cathedral, where Father Paul read the Gospel in Slavic."
"The representative of the Church plays a great role in strengthening friendship between Churches and peoples, because looking at us, people judge our Church, our country," the archpastor further said. "That's why I rejoice when I remember such representatives as, for example, Archpriest Iakov Ilyich, a very educated and cultured person."
Russian Russian Patriarch's representative to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia stressed: "I am very glad that the Russian Church's Compound in Beirut is now headed by Father Philip, that looking at him, his good deeds, the life of the Russian community, the Lebanese judge the Holy Russian Church, which I love very much. I look at the awe and reverence with which Father Philip serves, with what piety and interest he learns about the saints and shrines of Lebanon, and behind him and with him his Russian community, and I am glad that these people show fraternal relations between our Churches by their way of life."
"In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that we are representatives of the Antiochian Church at the Moscow See and the Russian Church at the Antiochian See, both of our Metochias live with the blessing of our two Patriarchs, and here in the ancient city of Beirut, also with the blessing of Metropolitan Elijah of Beirut," Metropolitan Niphon of Philippopolis said.
On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Porfiry of Serbia, Metropolitan Anthony of Moravich greeted those gathered at the Russian House. "The Russian Orthodox Church on the territory of most Local Orthodox Churches has made a great contribution to the strengthening of church fraternal relations," stated Bishop Anthony. - Temples that were built by Russian people are monuments. The beauty and splendor of the divine services, the clarity and diplomacy of the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in many countries conquer hundreds of thousands of people who become believers. This can also be seen in non-Orthodox countries, for example, in China and Japan. Reading the pages of the history of the Beirut Compound, we see what outstanding people served here, prayed; they had high authority. Dear Father Philip, congratulations on the 75th anniversary of the Farmstead. May God grant you wisdom so that you continue to lead this Farmstead just as well for the benefit of two peoples – Lebanon and Russia."
Archimandrite Seraphim (Shemyatovsky), representative of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, conveyed the wish of "successful labors, peaceful life and God's help in the blessed Lebanese land" on behalf of His Beatitude Metropolitan Rostislav.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Lebanon A.N. Rudakov warmly welcomed the participants of the conference. "Relations between Russia and Lebanon have a solid spiritual foundation in the form of traditionally friendly ties between the Russian and Antiochian Orthodox Churches, rooted in the distant past. Russian Russian so-called "Moscow" schools operated in Lebanon at the beginning of the XX century under the leadership of the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society and the Russian Orthodox Church. The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Beirut, by the way, is located in a building where one of these schools used to be," the diplomat recalled.
He also mentioned the existing mutual understanding and cooperation both at the interstate and inter-church level, as well as at the level of the Orthodox community of Russia and Lebanon.
"I would like to emphasize that the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church and its Compound in Beirut are aimed primarily at establishing civil peace and harmony in Lebanon while unconditionally preserving the Christian presence in the country," Rudakov said.
He also assured that "Russia will continue to support the Orthodox community of Lebanon to maintain a balance in the political, confessional and public spheres."
The representative of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Hegumen Arseny (Sokolov) reminded the audience that the Beirut Metochion is the oldest place of testimony of the Moscow Patriarchate on the canonical territory of the Antiochian Orthodox Church: "The entire post-war history, the life of three generations is the history of the Beirut Metochion of the Moscow Patriarchate."
Russian Russian Russian Russian Orthodox Church professor Vladislav Tsypin, professor of the Moscow Theological Academy and Sretensky Theological Seminary, member of the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church, who touched on the topic "The relationship of the Antiochian Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church in the XX and XXI century"), head of the ITAR-TASS representative office in Lebanon D.A. Zelenin ("First Wave Emigrants and the Russian Compound"), researcher of the Russian presence in Lebanon T.V. Baher (Kuvasheva), who devoted her speech to the topic "About Russian burials in cemeteries of Lebanon", and also a journalist and analyst Kfuri Iskandar, who announced the report "Moscow Schools in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria".
According to the forum participants, Russians have made a significant contribution to the cultural life of Lebanon, and research work in this direction should be continued. The restoration of Russian graves on Lebanese soil is an urgent issue. Metropolitan Silouan of the Lebanese Mountains made a concluding speech, noting, in particular: "Your story is very beautiful and very interesting. I was very glad to listen to the speakers who came to us from Russia; I especially welcome Archpriest Vladislav Tsypin. This means that there are people who know the history of Russian-Arab relations." Vladyka expressed hope for the continuation of scientific research in this direction, "which will give results in the future."