KIEV: October 28, 2016
A Representative of the Russian Church Abroad Speaks at an International Conference on the 1000 th Anniversary of the Russian Presence on Mt Athos

A round-table was held on October 26, 2016, at the Ecclesiastical Archeological Museum of Kiev Theological Academy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church titled Questions on the Study of the Legacy of Mt Athos, as part of an international academic forum devoted to the 1000 th anniversary of Russian monasticism on Mt Athos, as reported by Russky Afon website.

Participating were Honorary Metropolitan Christopher of the Czech Lands and Slovakia; Protopriest Sergy Yushchik, First Prorector of KTA; Vladimir Burega, Prorector of Academic Research at KTA; His Grace Bishop Isaiah of Schumpert (Czech), as well as historians and theologians from Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Slovakia, the USA and other countries. Moderating the event was Sergei Shumilo, Director of the International Institute of the Legacy of Athos.

Fr Yushchik gave the keynote address on behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony of Borispol and Brovarsk, Rector of KTA and Chancellor of the UOC.

Professor Igor Khronenko of KTA then spoke on the topic Ancient Athos as a Theme at All-Russian Archeological Conferences 1869-1911), detailing the work of Russian pilgrims and researchers at the Holy Mountain of that period.

Protopriest Dmitry Yakovenko, professor at Odessa Theological Seminary, spoke on the history of the educational and charitable efforts of Mt Athos sister centers, St Panteleimon Monastery, St Elias Monastery and St Andre Skete in Odessa.

Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Protopriest Serafim Gan, Rector of St Seraphim Memorial Church to the Reestablishment of Unity Within the Russian Orthodox Church in Sea Cliff, NY, spoke on the correspondence of his grandfather, the eminent ROCOR Protopriest Rostislav Gan, with ascetics and elders of the Holy Mountain, presenting previously unknown documents and attestations of Elder Theodosios of Karul and others.

The epistolary theme was continued by docent Yuri Danilets of Uzhgorod National University with a talk titled Correspondence of the Carpathian Athonites as a Source of History of Ukrainian Monasticism on the Holy Mountain.

During the round table, publications of the UOC and the International Institute of the Athon Legacy in Ukraine were presented, which are dedicated to the 1000 th anniversary of ancient Russian monasticism on Mt Athos.

Mr Shumilo presented a new monograph, St Paisy Velichkovsky: the Story of the Holy Council and Little-known Letters, published by decree of the Holy Synod of the UOC. It covers and reveals previously unknown early letters of St Paisy both to Metropolitan Arseny (Mogilyansky) of Kiev and to Holy Righteous Peter Kalnyshevsky, the Koshevoy Ataman of the Zaporozhskaya Sech, discovered in the IIALU.

Published here for the first time are letters of St Paisy when he was still abbot of the ancient SS Peter-Simon Monastery on Mt Athos. The original manuscripts discovered were a real sensation. For these are the first and only surviving letters of St Paisy written on Mt Athos. We learn from them that Velichkovsky tried to establish a new spiritual center of Slavic monasticism on Mt Athos, and achieved the transfer of this ancient monastery to his Malorussian brethren, for time eternal, while the Zaporozhsky Cossacks and Metropolitan Arseny (Mogilyansky) provided material help, said Mr Shumilo, the books compiler.

Also presented was the book Elder Ioann Vishensky: Athonite Ascetic and Orthodox Polemicist, compiled on the basis of materials of the UOC, which this year canonized him as a saint. A new almanac Athonite Legacy and other publications were likewise presented.

The round table ended with a discussion on researching the history and current traditions of Mt Athos. Especially noted were the continuing efforts to study and renew the Athonite legacy not only during this jubilee year, but also going forward. The desire to continue these scholarly gatherings was expressed.

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