March 30, 2015
Atlanta, GA: Bishop George leads Patronal Feast Day of St. Mary of Egypt Church

On Saturday the 28th and Sunday the 29th of March, the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt, His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop George of Mayfield, performed an archpastoral visit to St. Mary of Egypt Church in Roswell (Atlanta), GA, and led the patronal feast day. Also visiting the parish and present at the divine services was the myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts" from Moscow.

At the All-Night Vigil on Saturday evening and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, His Grace was co-served by parish rector Archpriest John Townsend, Priest Alexander Lisnichuk (parish cleric), Priest Eugene Antonov (rector of neighboring Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Atlanta), Priest Benedict Simpson (chaplain at Glorious Ascension Monastery in Resaca, GA), and parish Deacons John Hanson and Steven Hanes. Priest Matthew Williams (rector of St. Tikhon Church in Bristol, VA) joined his fellow clergy at Vigil before returning home.

Before Liturgy, Bishop George elevated several men to the rank of reader and subdeacon: father and son Ignaty and Christopher Cherry were tonsured readers, while Adam Gedney, Dimitri Epstein, and parish warden Michael (Richard) Wells were ordained subdeacons. Subdeacon Adam will serve in St. Luke the Blessed Surgeon Mission in Coconut Creek, FL, while the rest will fulfill their service in St. Mary of Egypt Church.

In his sermon at the end of Liturgy, Bishop George spoke about St. Mary of Egypt repenting before the icon of Theotokos at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, noting that here, too, parishioners stood before a miraculous icon of the Mother of God, and should all ask her for the grace of repentance. His Grace spoke about his recent visit to Ukraine, where people braved the cold and rain to attend church in the hundreds. He challenged the faithful in America to show similar piety, asking whether it will take suffering similar trials and tribulations to those being faced by the faithful in Ukraine, before we ourselves start going to church.

A procession was held around the church. After the service, a festal luncheon was held under a tent outdoors, and parishioners spent time interacting with Bishop George on his last archpastoral visit before departing for Australia.

Photos by Anastasia Gracheva

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese