March 2, 2015
New York City: Bishop Nicholas leads Divine Services for First Week of Great Lent

On the evening of the first day of Great Lent – Clean Monday, February 23 – His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, led Great Compline with the reading of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.

On Tuesday evening, February 24, His Grace led Great Compline with the reading of the Penitential Canon in Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Philadelphia, PA. Bishop Nicholas was co-served by parish rector Priest Valery Sukholobov. Upon completion of the service, His Grace addressed the faithful with a call to use their minds and hearts and appreciate more deeply the meaning of the Great Lenten services, and to labor in prayer, in order to greet Christ’s Glorious Resurrection with a pure mind.

The following day – Wednesday, February 25 – His Grace read the Canon of St. Andrew in English at St. Elizabeth the New-Martyr Church in Rocky Hill, NJ. The Orthodox parish in Rocky Hill is primarily English-speaking, but Bishop Nicholas read part of the Canon in Church Slavonic for those of the parishioners who speak Russian. Parish rector Archpriest David Straut served Great Compline. His Grace greeted the parishioners with the start of Great Lent, noting that, as Orthodox Christians, we understand that the days of Great Lent are a joyous time that offers the best opportunity to cleanse our souls with repentance; a time to be spiritually reborn, as the Lord said to His disciple Nicodemus, and – most importantly – to prepare our souls to greet the Savior. Upon completion of the service, the clergy and parishioners gathered for a lenten supper and were able to interact with their bishop.

On Thursday, February 26, at the invitation of Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Bishop Nicholas led the reading of the final part of the Great Penitential Canon in St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City. Bishop John prayed in the altar, while Great Compline was served by cathedral cleric Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov). Upon completion of the service, Their Graces enjoyed a measure of brotherly interaction, during which the two agreed to concelebrate a Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts during Great Lent.

On February 25 and 27, Wednesday and Friday of the First Week of Great Lent, Bishop Nicholas served the Hierarchal Rite of the Presanctified Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. His Grace was co-served by the cathedral’s senior priest, Archpriest Andrei Sommer, and Synodal clerics: Priest Igor Grytsyna, Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, and Deacons Nazari Fataliev and Dionysius Lvov. Upon completion of the Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas led the canon to the Great-Martyr Theodore Tyro and blessed the koliva.

His Grace congratulated those serving and praying with the end of the First Week of Great Lent, and thanked the clergy, choristers, and parishioners for their joint prayers. Calling to mind the Prayers after Communion, he called on them to fast in such a way that might burn up the thorns of all of our sins, and worthily greet our Savior with all our heart on the day of His Glorious Resurrection. Bishop Nicholas reminded the faithful about the importance of concluding the First Week by confessing and communing of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese