St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, our Academy's patron.
The Grand Duchess was met at the door and presented flowers by one of our high school students, then welcomed into the Great Hall where the student body and teachers had assembled. A short program of Church music was performed by the students, under the direction of the Academy's kliros instructor, Mrs. Ioanna Sharkova.
Following the singing, the Grand Duchess warmly greeted students and staff. Those who may have been nervous or unfamiliar with formal protocol around members of the royal family were immediately put at ease as the Grand Duchess embraced each student and proclaimed 'Christ is risen!', asking after their studies and other activities - even offering to stay and visit longer, if it would help delay the Stanford tests students knew were waiting for them immediately after the visit concluded!
HIH the Grand Duchess greets some of the Academy's
HIH the Grand Duchess Maria was accompanied by Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, as well as a small delegation travelling with her.