On 4 September 2018, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia arrived in St. Petersburg to lead the commemorative events timed to the 40th anniversary of the death of his teacher and spiritual guide, Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) of Leningrad and Novgorod (15 October 1929 – 5 September 1978).
Upon his arrival the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church proceeded to the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. Vladyka Nikodim had been the one who had greatly contributed to the revival of theology as science and theological education in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and helped save the Academy from closure in the period of Khrushchev’s persecutions.
Meeting His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the main entrance to the academy were Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Bishop Serafim of Petergof, rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.
After visiting the Church of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian His Holiness proceeded to the assembly hall to attend the commemoration meeting marking the 40th anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Nikodim.
Taking part in the meeting was an assembly of hierarchs and clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as the faculty and students of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy.
Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga presented an address on the life and ministry of Metropolitan Nikodim, saying in particular:
“Metropolitan Nikodim’s heritage is in his disciples and in those who continued his principle mission – to help the Russian Orthodox Church bring the light of the Truth of Christ to people. There are such persons in the history of our Church, in whose names the entire epochs are called. Undoubtedly, His Eminence Metropolitan Nikodim was such man. He was not just a man of his time, but by devoting all his energies for the good of the Church of Christ he looked toward the future. ‘I must fight, and history will be my judge,’ he would say.
Those attending the meeting were shown a literally and musical composition in commemoration of Metropolitan Nikodim, accompanied by photo and video materials. The choir of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy performed religious chants.
At the conclusion of the commemoration meeting, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill addressed all those present, saying:
“I would like to cordially thank all those who planned this evening, which, I am sure, we all will never forget. It gives us a very good opportunity today, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Nikodim, to recall what unique personality and life he had. May Vladyka Nikodim of blessed memory rest in the Heavenly Kingdom. I wish all of us, those who knew him and those who have realized and felt something during this meeting, to imitate in our own lives and in our service to the Lord at least a fraction of what this great man did. Heavenly Kingdom and rest eternal be to him!”
The participants in the meeting sang Memory Eternal to His Eminence Metropolitan Nikodim.
Patriarchal Press Service/
DECR Communication Service