Nashotah House held its Academic Convocation on October 26th, 2012. Our guest speaker was His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, Archbishop of Volokolamsk and the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations for the Russian Orthodox Church. His visit was an opportunity to strengthen the historic relationship between Nashotah House and the Eastern Church. Nashotah has long been a point of contact between East and West, most famously with its connections to the Diocese of Fond Du Lac’s onetime bishop, the Rt. Rev. Charles Chapman Grafton. Grafton and Orthodox Bishop Saint Tikhon of Moscow.
Grafton and Tikhon made some of the greatest strides towards Christian unity, including Tikhon’s presence at the consecration of R. H. Weller as Bishop Coadjutor of Fond Du Lac. Tikhon had been invited to participate in the consecration, but ultimately was just an observer. The famous photograph taken at the Cathedral that day became known, somewhat pejoratively, as the Fond Du Lac Circus. Tikhon may be seen on the far right of the picture.
After Metropolitan Hilarion’s Convocation Address, Nashotah House and the Diocese of Fond Du Lac presented to him a prayer rope and a cope which was likely a gift from Tikhon to Grafton. This return of Tikhon’s relics is particularly poignant, as the Russian Church has only a few items that belonged to Tikhon.
O Almighty God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and hast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses; Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of thy Saints, and especially of thy servants Charles Grafton and Tikhon of Moscow, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we, with them, attain to thine eternal joy; through him who is the author and finisher of our faith, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.