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Fr. Daniel Andrejuk, Ambassador Jon Huntsman and family, light candles at St. Catherine Church.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, June 20, 2018, Archpriest Daniel Andrejuk, Representative of the Orthodox Church in America to the Moscow Patriarchate, welcomed the United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Jon Meade Huntsman Jr., on his first visit to the Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine in Moscow.

Ambassador Huntsman, who took office in October 2017, was accompanied by his wife, daughter and secretary, Justin Berg.  Upon their arrival, the Ambassador and his family were presented with flowers by Father Daniel’s daughters, Paraskeva and Ephimia.

The Huntsmans are greeted with flowers upon their arrival to St. Catherine Church.

Father Daniel related the history of Saint Catherine Church to Ambassador Huntsman.  Closed and used for secular purposes during the Soviet era, the parish complex has undergone major restoraton since it was returned to the Church in the early 1990s.  Situated on a major street in central Moscow, the ensemble is a classic example of 18th century ecclesiastical architecture.  Father Daniel also explained the mission of the Representation Church for the OCA and the Moscow Patriarchate.  Mrs. Huntsman spoke of the importance of Saint Catherine Church as a place “where people can be nourished spiritually using the English language.”

Fr. Daniel explains ongoing restoration efforts to Ambassador Huntsman.

Father Daniel also relayed greetings from His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, whom Ambassador Huntsman had met in Moscow in December 2017.

After touring the parish’s main church and the “winter church” of the Icon of Christ Not Made By Hands, Ambassador Huntsman and Father Daniel continued their discussion over coffee and tea, during which they spoke of prospects for future cooperation.  Father Daniel extended an invitation to Ambassador Huntsman to attend the parish’s annual commemoration of the September 11 attacks.

Fr. Daniel highlights photo display of the parish’s rich history, dating back to the 18th century.

It was in early 1992 that Protopresbyter Daniel Hubiak, former OCA Chancellor, was appointed as the OCA’s first Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate.  He initially celebrated English-language services in the Church of Saint Symeon the Stylite at Moscow’s Danilov Monastery while a suitable church for the OCA’s use could be identified.  Two years later, Saint Catherine Church was selected as the site of the Representation Church due to its central location and size.