Inside the Vatican Magazine
September 6–19, 2017
Moscow, Pskov, Novgorod, and St. Petersburg
A Personal Invitation from Dr. Robert Moynihan:
Have you ever dreamed of taking a pilgrimage to see and experience the country known as “Holy Mother Russia,” land of vast plains and immense white birch tree forests and many holy icons?
Have you ever wondered what really happened in the Soviet Union, and what has been happening since 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed?
Have you ever wondered about the prophecy of Our Lady of Fatima, who said that “in the end my Immaculate Heart shall triumph, Russia shall be converted, and a period of peace shall be granted to the world?” Have you ever wanted to go see with your own eyes whether that prophecy might be coming true?
In this letter, I am offering you a chance to make that dream come true.
Dr. Robert MoynihanI am writing to you to invite you to join Inside the Vatican’s September 2017 pilgrimage to the world’s largest country, which stretches over 11 times zones, one of the most fascinating, beautiful, historically important countries in the world: Russia.
A few important points:
You will be in good hands. We have asked our dear friend, Father Ilya Gotlinsky, a Russian Orthodox priest, to help us as our guide. He will be with you on this journey every step of the way. His knowledge, experience, and contacts ensure that you will have an “insider” with you as you go from place to place around Russia. He will be able to handle any problem that may emerge.
You will have a spiritual view of Russia. By traveling with Father Ilya, an ordained priest in the Orthodox Church, we will have a continual, profound commentary on what happened in Russia under communism (1917 to 1991) and what has happened since, during a time in which Russia has experienced a spiritual renewal. Every place visited, whether Red Square in Moscow or the Hermitage Museum in the former Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, you will almost touch the history of the Russian Revolution, the period of Soviet rule, and the present time as Russia seeks to return to her religious roots.
You will be overwhelmed by Russia’s beauty. This great country has beautiful art, majestic vistas, and astonishing architecture. Once in a lifetime, everyone should stand in Red Square and sense the movement of history’s great events. Once in a lifetime, everyone should stand before the holy icon of Our Lady of Vladimir and sense its spiritual depth and power. You will have this opportunity if you make this journey.
You will broaden your horizons to an enormous degree. Many people have visited the Louvre, the Vatican museums, and the British Parliament, but not so many have visited the Hermitage in St. Petersburg or the Kremlin in Moscow. How many people do you know who can say “I’ve been inside the Kremlin?” If you join us on this journey, you will see with your own eyes the places that have made history and are still appearing on our evening news. You will have touched a part of the world that everyone talks about but very few have come to know intimately.
You will have time for prayer. We all speak of that mysterious thing called “the Russian soul.” It is the soul of a people who have suffered much, who have produced great art and literature and poetry and music. It is a soul that has a profoundly Christian orientation, with a great tradition of monastic piety, and of pilgrimages by common fold, all focused on deepening their closeness with God. You can participate in this great movement of Russian spirituality by joining us on this very special pilgrimage.
Father Ilya has a wealth of spiritual knowledge and insight which will help ensure that this journey will be a thoughtful, peaceful journey. Father Ilya was born in Russia and lived there many years before coming to America when he was in his 20s. So he is a native Russian who studied at the St. Petersburg Theological Seminary, then in St. Valmiri’s Seminary in New York. He is currently a parish priest in an Orthodox parish in Binghamton, New York. So he speaks perfect Russian and perfect English and is a brilliant, perceptive, spirit-filled guide who believes a pilgrimage “is always a travel of the heart toward the heavenly, not the earthly, Jerusalem.”
So you will be in good hands, you will receive spiritual nourishment, you will be overwhelmed by the beauty you see, you will broaden your horizons and stand in very special places, and you will have time for contemplation and prayer.
We feel this pilgrimage will be an extraordinary experience. If you would like to experience Russia, this pilgrimage is the pilgrimage for you.
Deborah Tomlinson, the Director of Inside the Vatican Pilgrimages, will be with you for several days. Her work in Russia goes beyond pilgrimage work. She has worked for more than ten years to build bridges between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches, including the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate. Deborah continues to work with the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church on current projects in an effort to help heal the “Great Schism” of 1054.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write or call, and we will gladly answer any and all questions.
In the hope that we will see you in Russia,
Sincerely, in Christ,
Founder and Editor of Inside the Vatican magazine
Spend four (4) nights in Moscow, the heart and capital city of Russia
Accommodations at the five-star Golden Ring Hotel
View the beautiful art and architecture of Russia
Visit the Assumption Cathedral (Uspenskiy Sobor), where tsars were crowned and patriarchs installed, and the Armoury Chamber
Explore the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral
Experience the Russian soul with visits to the Donskoy Monastery, the Convent of Sts. Martha and Mary, the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception – the largest Catholic church in Russia, and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior – the tallest Orthodox Church in the world.
Stroll through Red Square and visit the Kremlin in Moscow
Day trip to the churches and monasteries of Semkhoz and Sergiev Posad, and especially the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra Monastery , the center of Russian Orthodoxy.
Spend time in the Tretyakov Art Gallery and the attached Museum Church of St. Nicholas
Visit the Butovo Memorial Complex, dedicated to those who died under Soviet rule
Shop on the historic Arbat Street
Last night will be spent on overnight train to Pskov
Golden Ring Hotel
St. Sergius Lavra Monastery
Spend one (1) night in the city of Pskov, one of the oldest cities in Russia
Accommodations at the Hotel Dvor Podznoeva
See the picturesque fortifications of the Pskov Kremlin
Explore one of the finest museum collections of icons and ecclesiastical artifacts at the Pskov state historical-architectural and art museum Complex
Pray at the Holy Trinity Cathedral
Visit the 12th-century Mirozhsky Monastery and Church of St. John the Baptist
Hotel Dvor Podznoeva
Spend two (2) nights in the city of Novgorod, situated along the stunning Volkhov River
Accommodations at the Park Inn Radisson in Novgorod
Explore the Novgorod Kremlin and museums
Celebrate mass in the Cathedral of St. Sophia
Visit the holy sites of the Znamensky Cathedral and Transfiguration Church
Tour the prestigious St. George’s Monastery
Pray at the ancient Monastery of St. Varlaam of Hutyn
Stroll through the Trade Mart at Yaroslav’s Court, ancient Novgorod’s main economic center, and gain a better understanding of medieval Russia
Visit the Vitoslavitsi Museum of Wooden Architecture
Park Inn Radisson
St. George’s Monastery
Spend four (4) nights in St. Petersburg, Russia’s cultural center
Accommodations at the Angleterre Hotel, located in the heart of St. Petersburg
View Byzantine art and mosaics in the Alexander-Nevsky Lavra Monastery, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, and the Holy Resurrection Cathedral
Explore the vast treasures contained in the State Russian Museum and State Hermitage Museum , once the Romanovs’ Winter Palace
Visit the Smolenskoye Cemetery – resting place for saints and tsars, and the Peter and Paul Fortress
Visit the Kazan Cathedral and learn the vibrant history of the icon of our Lady of Kazan
View the city of St. Petersburg from the dome of the ornate Cathedral of St. Issac
Explore Peterhof and see the world famous Golden Palace and the Peter and Paul Cathedral, located within the fortress
See a folk show and have dinner at the Nicholaevsky Palace
Visit the Basilica of St. Catherine, the oldest Catholic church in Russia, and the Russian State Museum
Visit the Church of Our Savior of Spilt Blood, also known as the Holy Resurrection Cathedral
Visit Tsarskoye Selo, location of the former Summer Palace of the Romanovs
Visit the St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral and the Pavlovsk Palace
State Hermitage Museum
This pilgrimage is a Land Package Only.
A deposit of $500.00 per participant is required at the time of booking. Please make payments by check payable to Inside the Vatican.
The number of pilgrims is limited to 35 to allow for a peaceful and personal experience.
Our partner and friend, Fr. Ilya Gotlinsky, a Russian Orthodox priest, will be with us for the entire pilgrimage.
Overnight train from Moscow to Pskov during the pilgrimage is included. Each person will have two (2) berths in a private cabin. There is a shared bathroom at the end of the hall.
The charge for tickets on the overnight train trip from Moscow to Pskov is included in the Land Package.
A visa is required for all U.S. citizens. Although the cost for the visa is not included, we can assist with obtaining one.
Meals — 11 breakfasts, 8 dinners, and 11 lunches are included.
Arrival Transfers — Transfers from the airport to the hotel upon arrival on Thursday, September 7, 2017, are included in the package and will be based upon participants’ arrival schedule. Most flights will arrive in Moscow after 11:00 a.m. local time. We strongly recommend you schedule your flight to arrive no later than 3:00 p.m. to avoid heady traffic.
Departure Transfers — There will be one (1) group transfer from the hotel to the airport upon departure on Monday, September 18, 2017. To be included in the group transfer, please ensure that your flight departure time is no earlier than 10:00 a.m.