The princely line of the Galitzines is one of the most ancient aristocratic families of
Prince Vladimir Kirillovich Galitzine has been Warden of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in
– Vladimir Kirillovich, you have been the Warden of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign for 38 years. What in this building have you made with your own hands?
– This building was first built as a residence, and it belonged to one of the wealthiest people in
The building itself also required some reconstruction: the former ball room became the Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign,” the main dining room was transformed into the Chapel of St Sergius of Radonezh, where daily services are held now. The living room of the former owners became the Synodal hall, where the Synod of Bishops convenes.
– The Synodal building is also the residence of the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
– Metropolitan Anastassy was an intelligent, calm person with a variety of interests. He would ask me about the banking industry, about the computers that were being invented then. He always had a million questions!
I often think of one of the most important moments of our family life. When my wife, Tatiana Vladimirovna and I were married, Vladyka Anastassy invited us to his residence and blessed us with icons, which we cherish to this day.
Following the blessed repose of Metropolitan Anastassy, the bishops could not choose a head of the Church from among two candidates for a long time: Archbishop John of
Metropolitan Philaret was a strict ascetic, but he was interested in youth ministry, worked with youth himself, he helped the school at the Synod a great deal. Vladyka Philaret loved music a great deal, and was himself a talented liturgical composer.
Metropolitan Vitaly was also memorable as a strict monk, who, at the same time, loved for everything in church to be beautiful, tasteful; he did not tolerate disorder in the altar.
I knew Metropolitan Laurus when he was still an archimandrite. He often visited our home: my sons Kirill and Gregory were altar boys under him, they would accompany him on trips to other parishes. Vladyka Laurus often came to stay at our home. We considered him a member of our family, we loved him a great deal, and his death was a deep personal loss for us.
– Vladimir Kirillovich, how did your family end up abroad?
– My ancestors left
I was born in
During the War, we fled through
In 1951, we came to
After school, two universities offered me scholarships: I was a good football player, and such players are always in demand at colleges. The problem was I didn’t even have the money to travel there. In 1960, I went to work for Bank of New York and took correspondence courses. At first I worked as an accountant, and six months later, my boss recommended me to another position. There I put together a good Russian team, one member of whom later became my wife, Tatiana Vladimirovna Kazimirova. We were married in 1963.
– How did your career develop in the banking world?
– I worked in the Bank of New York’s International department. At first in
Soon we began to work with
People often couldn’t understand why I loved to travel to such remote places, where there was often no fuel for the airplanes to depart on schedule. But this was an interesting, productive time, a time of historic change. Actually, this period in my career was not only the most successful but the most fruitful, pleasant and educational.
– Summing up the impressions of the trips to your historic homeland, tell us, is this the same
– When I first came to
During one of my trips to
Even then, there were colossal changes noticeable in church life there. We usually attended vigil and Liturgy in one of the smaller churches of
– Your retirement has approximately coincided with the reestablishment of canonical unity between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of
– This was a very important event, and a remarkable moment in the church life of the Russian diaspora. It became possible thanks to the fact that now we are united, we pray together, we approach the Holy Mysteries together.
The visit of holy relics to the countries where Russians of all the waves of immigration live, for those who work and study abroad, is important for all of us Orthodox Christians. It is likewise important that there are now a multitude of believers who come to
Our main holy icon is the Miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign.” But since the icon spends most of the time making “pilgrimages” throughout the dioceses of the Russian diaspora across the whole world, there is a copy replacing it painted by the renowned iconographer of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, Archimandrite Cyprian (Pyzhov), who was called “the icon painter of the diaspora.”
The Cathedral also houses a reliquary crafted in
Archimandrite Cyprian painted icons of St Xenia the Blessed of St Petersburg in time for her glorification in 1978 (a copy of which has been distributed throughout the whole word), and of St John of Kronstadt. Next to this icon hang his own vestments.
Since the very establishment of the Cathedral, before the glorification of the Royal Family, we had an honorary “royal corner” which contains the icon of St Nicholas with the depiction of other saints in a frame which contains a part of the mantle of the Royal Confessor, which he wore during his coronation.
I would like to share a story about a new icon brought as a gift from a delegation from the city of