In the period from May 19 to 26, 2023, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus', the head of the Central Asian Metropolitan District, Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, and the Archbishop of Pyatigorsk and Circassia Theophylact, temporarily administrator of the Patriarchal Deanery of the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in Turkmenistan, visited Turkmenistan. According to the “Blessed Caucasus” online publication, during their visit to Turkmenistan they visited Orthodox parishes.
The visit began with a visit to small communities in the cities of Gyzylarbat and Magtymguly in the Balkan velayat. On May 21, the Sunday hierarchical service was held on the day of memory of the holy Apostle John the Theologian in the Alexander Nevsky Church in Ashgabat.
On May 22, at the Divine Liturgy on the patronal day of St. Nicholas Church in the Turkmen capital, Archbishop Theophylact ordained a third-year student of the Kazan Theological Seminary, Varnava Grigoryants, to the rank of deacon. Father deacon was appointed as a full-time cleric of the Church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos in the city of Balkanabat.
On Tuesday, May 23, all the clergy of Turkmenistan concelebrated with Metropolitan Vikenty and Archbishop Theophylact at the Resurrection Church in Ashgabat.
“I convey to you the greetings and blessings of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus'. The Holy Father prays for the believers of Turkmenistan, thanks you for your loyalty to our unity, firmness in serving the Mother Church”, - Metropolitan Vikenty said to the participants in the service.
On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of his service in Turkmenistan, the head of the Central Asian Metropolitan District awarded Archbishop Theophylact the Order of the Metropolis of St. Luke of Crimea, I degree. The clergy of the deanery received awards from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus'. The Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov III degree was awarded to Hieromonk Foma (Grigoryants). The medal of the Order of Equal-to-the-Apostles Nicholas of Japan and Patriarchal Letters were also presented. Metropolitan Vikenty honored all the clergy of the Patriarchal Deanery with commemorative medals of the Central Asian District.
After the service, a meeting of the clergy of Turkmenistan was held. The clergy discussed topical issues in the life of Orthodox communities and the spiritual guidance of the country's believers.
“I want to say special words of gratitude to the leadership of Turkmenistan for the maximum assistance provided in supporting small communities”, - said Archbishop Theophylact.
On the same day, the Archpastor performed the Sacrament of Baptism of the infant Kira, the daughter of the rector of the Intercession Church in the city of Mary, father Dimitry Kireev. Vladyka Theophylact warmly congratulated the family on the birth of their fourth child. The bishop donated to the Mary church the image of the Monk Martyr Mauritius (Poletaev). In 1908, the future New Martyr of the Russian Church began his priestly ministry in Mary.
On May 24, the day of Equal-to-the-Apostles Methodius and Cyril, teachers of the Slovenian archpastors met at the patronal celebration of the Cyril and Methodius Church in the city of Ashgabat (Abadan microdistrict). The Bishops, together with the faithful, offered their solemn prayers for His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and recorded a video message of congratulations to His Holiness.
The archpastoral visit of Metropolitan Vikenty and Archbishop Theophylact ended with a festive Divine Liturgy on the day of the Ascension of the Lord in the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God “Search for the Lost” in the city of Dashoguz.
On the same day, the hierarchs met with the newly appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Turkmenistan Ivan Volynkin. The head of the Central Asian metropolitan district and the administrator of the Patriarchal deanery wished the ambassador God's help in the upcoming service.
- The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan held a meeting with Archbishop Theophylact