The five-time Emmy Award winning Hollywood actor, singer, and musician Jonathan Jackson, together with his family, who have embraced Orthodoxy in 2012, attended the Royal Martyrs centennial all-night liturgy in Ekaterinburg, July 2018.
in Ekaterinburg 2018
The five-time Emmy Award winning Hollywood actor, singer, and musician Jonathan Jackson, together with his family, who have embraced Orthodoxy in 2012, had wanted since long to pay a visit to Russia. Finally, in 2018, Jonathan and his family managed to fulfill their wish. The family arrived to Moscow on July 10 and stayed in Russia until the 21st. They visited various sacred places and they attended the Royal Martyrs centennial liturgy. Vadim Grachev accompanied the family throughout their trip. We publish here the excerpt from Grachev’s article relating their visit to Ekaterinburg.
"After a short rest, we took an overnight flight to Ekaterinburg. We landed early in the morning of July 15. After a brief respite we made a visit to the Church-on-the-Blood in honor of the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, built on the site of the Ipatiev House where the holy Royal Martyrs had been murdered 100 years ago. We looked around the church and venerated the icons. We offered up special petitions to the Royal Martyrs in the lower church where the Imperial Family had been executed. The visit to this church made a very strong impression upon the pilgrims.
Before leaving for Russia, the Jacksons had read the correspondence of the Tsar and the Tsarina, were inspired by their personalities, and came to love the whole of the Royal Family. Additionally, they liked the song by the well-known patriotic Russian Orthodox singer Zhanna Bichevskaya dedicated to the Royal Martyrs, the refrain of which consists of their names. Jonathan and Elisa would often hum its tune thereafter. It should be said that on the threshold of the main event—the midnight Liturgy at the Church-on-the-Blood—the preparation for it was in full swing, and many priests began to hear confessions of the faithful. Thus, that evening all of us managed to confess and receive a blessing for taking Communion the next day. Next we set off for the Monastery of the Holy Royal Passion-Bearers at the Ganina Yama pit, a place of both great sorrow and spiritual triumph. We attended Vespers there and venerated the cross at the pit itself. We saw the pilgrims, many of whom had been walking from all over the country and even abroad on the eve of the memorable event. Our guests were filled with spiritual joy and felt peace and quiet there—something that many of us intuitively crave for but cannot find amid the hustle and bustle of modern life.
The next day, July 16, we went to the Church-on-the-Blood again, when the Small Vespers with the Akathist to the Holy Royal Martyrs was being served there. After the Akathist, we venerated the icons, notably the “Three-Handed” Icon of the Theotokos before which the Royal Martyrs had prayed while in confinement. Our guests had learned many phrases in Russian and Church Slavonic by heart during their stay, so when I was reading the prayers before Holy Communion Jonathan participated by uttering exclamations like “Lord have mercy” and some others. After a short break at ten in the evening, we again headed for the Church-on-the-Blood where His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presided over the Divine Liturgy at midnight. This was the culmination of the festal events of those days for all of us. We all managed to take Holy Communion at that Liturgy by the grace of God.
Our pilgrims staunchly withstood all the hardships of the hours-long services and remained peppy, including the seven-year-old Titus whom I carried to Holy Communion. After the Liturgy we joined the procession that was walking towards the Ganina Yama pit for a short while and then headed for the hotel because our pilgrimage across Holy Russia was to continue the following morning. According to our guests, they will never forget this event."
by Vadim Grachev
Translation by Dmitry Lapa
Jonathan Stevens Jackson (born May 11, 1982) is an American actor, musician and author. His first well known character was Lucky Spencer on the ABC Daytime soap opera General Hospital, a role that has won him five Emmy Awards. In 2002, he played Jesse Tuck in the film Tuck Everlasting. In 2004 he started the band Enation with his brother, actor and drummer Richard Lee Jackson and friend Daniel Sweatt. From 2012–2018, he portrayed Avery Barkley in the ABC/CMT musical drama series, Nashville.
The son of Seventh-day Adventist parents, Jackson was raised as a non-denominational Christian, and has always been vocal about his faith. As part of his belief system, as a teen Jackson chose not to drink or do drugs. Jackson was also a proponent of abstinence from premarital sex. Jackson also often thanked God during his award acceptance speeches. While Jackson was working on General Hospital, he and his family held a home church in Burbank which various cast members attended, including Jackson's future wife Lisa Vultaggio. Jackson explained how his beliefs affected his choice of acting roles in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 1999, "I won't get involved with a movie that's a direct slap in the face of God. [...] I'm an actor, so I have to play people who believe differently than me. I would be willing to play a character that was completely unbelieving and anti-God, just as long as that wasn't the message of the whole movie." In 2002, Jackson participated in the DKNY-sponsored "What's Your Anti-Drug?" campaign, posing for the 2003 calendar featured in Cosmogirl magazine, stating his anti-drug was faith.
At age 20, Jackson married former General Hospital actress Lisa Vultaggio on June 21, 2002. Jackson told the Chicago Sun-Times, "Some people thought we were a little young to get married. But we didn't see the need to wait. When it's right, it's right." The couple moved to Jackson's hometown of Battle Ground, Washington to raise their family. They have three children. They married on June 21, 2002. They have three children: Caleb (born June 21, 2003), Adora (born in the summer of 2005), and Titus Gabriel (born October 7, 2010). In 2012, Jackson and his family were baptized into the Orthodox Church. Jackson cited a trip to Romania and Rome that first brought his attention to learning about the history of Christianity. In his acceptance speech for his 2012 Daytime Emmy Award, he thanked the Holy Trinity as well as the monks on Orthodox monastic enclave Mount Athos. Jackson later explained in an interview, "These people (are) dedicating their lives to prayer, and not just praying for themselves, but truly praying for all of us. And then the thought kind of crossed my mind: with all the destruction, chaos and insanity that goes on in this world, if their prayers weren't happening, what would this world be like? I felt personally like I just wanted to thank them because I really believe that their prayers mean a lot."