Metropolitan Jonah, SVOTS President, receives award from Russian Orthodox Committee

Triumph of Orthodoxy Award
Valerie Balakirev [left], representing the “National Awards Committee” of Russia, presents the “Triumph of Orthodoxy” Award to Metropolitan Jonah [right], as Archbishop Justinian looks on.

Following the Divine Liturgy for the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, who as Primate of the Orthodox Church in America also serves as President of the Board of Trustees of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, was publicly honored by a committee of Orthodox Christians based in Russia.

His Beatitude, who concelebrated the Liturgy with visiting hierarchs, His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk and Administrator of the Patriarchal parishes in the USA, and His Eminence, Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware], Bishop of Diokleia, was presented the “Triumph of Orthodoxy” award in the seminary chapel, directly after the service.

The award was given by the “National Awards Committee,” a group of Orthodox Christians blessed to do their work by the hierarchs of the Moscow Patriarchate.  Mr. Valerie Sergeivich Balakirev, who represented the committee, bestowed a medal upon Metropolitan Jonah, “in recognition of His Beatitude’s efforts in promoting unity and friendship among Orthodox Christians the world over.”

“This is neither a Church, nor a government, award,” said Mr. Balakirev, “but rather an honor given by Orthodox Christians, as representing the hearts of the faithful, and therefore, knowing no bounds.”  Metropolitan Jonah responded by saying he was “humbled” by the committee’s decision.

Mr. Balakirev said the committee made its decision to choose Metropolitan Jonah as the award recipient on July 20, 2011.  His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksy II, was the recipient of the first award given by the committee in 2002, for his role in resurrecting spiritual life in Russia.  His Holiness, Patriarch Pavle of Serbia, received the award in 2003.

After the award ceremony, Metropolitan Jonah greeted the new and returning students, and admonished them to pay attention to their prayer life while enrolled at the seminary, stating “prayer will illumine your studies.”

Besides serving Divine Liturgy in the morning, Metropolitan Jonah met with the student body in the afternoon, in scheduled sessions.