The skull of St John Chrysostom, a prized relic of the Russian Orthodox Church, has not left Russia since it arrived there during the reign of Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich, in the early 1600s. With the blessing of Patriarch Kirill I (Кирилл, Патриарх Московский и всея Руси) of Moscow, the skull of Saint John Chrysostom, which is enshrined in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, was venerated in New York City February 12 2010. The seminarians of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius were privileged to be among those invited to venerate the relic of this early Father of the Church.
The head of Saint John Chrysostom was brought to Russia from the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos in the 17th century. It was enshrined in the Moscow Kremlin’s Assumption Cathedral until 1922. From 1930 until 1988, the reliquary with the shrine belonged to the Foundation for Guarding of Russian Silver of the 19th century. Several reliquaries, including the one bearing the saint’s head, were returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in the State Armoury Chamber on the eve of celebration of the 1000-year anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ on May 26, 1988.