March 23, 2015
Howell, NJ: On Feast of 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, Namesday of Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov is celebrated at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

On March 22, the Sunday of St. John Climacus and the feast day of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, the parishioners of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ celebrated the namesday of their pastor emeritus, Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov, who designed the cathedral and oversaw its construction, and served as its rector for many years. Fr. Valery led the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, co-served by cathedral dean Archpriest Serge Lukianov, Archpriest George Kallaur (rector of Unexpected Joy Church on Staten Island, NY), Archpriest Paul Ivanov (rector of Holy Myrrhbearers Church in Brooklyn, NY), and parish clerics: Archpriest Boris Slootsky, Priest Seraphim Chemodakov, Protodeacon Leonid Roschko, and Deacon Paul Drozdowski.

Upon completion of the Liturgy, the clergy served a short moleben to the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste. Fr. Valery addressed the faithful with a sermon on the martyric labors of and the example set by Christ’s holy martyrs throughout the ages.

Fr. Serge then read aloud a congratulatory greeting to Fr. Valery from the cathedral’s rector, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, which read in part: "Following the testaments of your spiritual preceptors – the Holy Hierarch John of Shanghai & San Francisco, the First Hierarchs and founding fathers of the Russian Church Abroad – for many decades you have prayed diligently, worked tirelessly, and served as a good example to younger clergy, to your contemporaries, and to the next generation of Russian-Americans. With humility in your heart, you likewise follow the example of your heavenly patron – the holy martyr Valerius – and courageously overcame all of the difficulties and hardships faced in the priestly calling. May your long life, replete with good deeds, be for the multitude of your spiritual children a good example on the path to salvation." Fr. Valery thanked his brother clergy for their shared prayer.

In accordance with age-old tradition, on the feast of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, Orthodox Christians would bake "larks" out of sweet bread, which were blessed and distributed to parishioners.

A delicious lenten luncheon for the clergy and faithful was offered in honor of Fr. Valery in the cathedral hall, organized by the parish sisterhood. Fr. Valery received congratulations from the students of St. Alexander Nevsky Russian School. Many more kind words were said in honor of the namesday celebrant.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese