March 5, 2015
New York City: Bishop Nicholas leads Rite of Orthodoxy in Synodal Cathedral

At the conclusion of the first week of Great Lent, His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, led the divine services in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. On Saturday, February 28, the feast day of the Holy Great-Martyr Theodore Tyro, Bishop Nicholas celebrated the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, co-served by cathedral clergy: senior priest Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Priest Igor Grytsyna, Protodeacons Nicolas Mokhoff and Vadim Gan, and Deacons Nazari Fataliev and Dionysius Lvov. Singing the divine service was the Hierarchal Choir, under the direction of Peter Fekula; many in the church communed that day. In his sermon upon completion of the Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas reminded the faithful of the tortures endured by the Holy Great-Martyr Theodore Tyro, and the miracle performed by the saint after his repose for the sake of the salvation of Orthodox Christians, calling on parishioners to follow the example of St. Theodore and the martyrs by always having prayer on their lips, and gratitude to the Lord in their hearts. Both on the eve of the feast and after Liturgy, kolivo was blessed in the cathedral.

That same evening in the Synodal Cathedral, Bishop Nicholas led the All-Night Vigil, and on Sunday, March 1, the Triumph of Orthodoxy, celebrated the Divine Liturgy. His Grace was co-served by Fr. Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Vasiliy Raskovskiy (cathedral cleric), Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine (member of the Diocesan Council), Priest Paul Ivanov (rector of Holy Myrrhbearers Church in Brooklyn, NY), and the above-mentioned deacons. Hieromonk Eutychius (Dovganyuk) heard confessions.

The Hierarchal Choir, singing in greater attendance on account of the Sunday service, performed works by B.M. Ledkovsky and M.S. Konstantinov. A multitude of the faithful communed from two chalices.

Upon completion of the Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas addressed the faithful with a sermon, which he began with the question: "Are we all truly Orthodox?" His Grace offered the example of Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus, to whom the risen Christ appeared as a fellow traveler and with whom He spoke. But they did not recognize Him; Luke and Cleopas listened to Christ and spoke with him about what had taken place, but did not recognize Him until they stopped for the evening and sat down to eat. Then the Savior, taking bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them. The Lord performed the same act that He had at the Mystical Supper – He repeated the sacrament of the Eucharist, giving them Himself as bread. And then, witnesses the Gospel, their eyes were opened and they knew Him. Luke and Cleopas made haste to Jerusalem, where they bore witness to the risen Savior Christ.

Bishop Nicholas posed one more question: "When we commune, do we know Christ, do we rejoice, do we confess our faith?" His Grace once again drew parishioners’ attention to the example of Luke and Cleopas, calling on them to accept Jesus Christ with all their hearts as the risen Savior, as our Redeemer from sin and death.

After Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas led the Rite of Orthodoxy, for which several clergy from the New York-area churches had gathered: Archpriest Alexander Belya (dean of New York City), Archpriest Serafim Gan (Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops), Archpriest Mark Burachek (rector of Our Lady of Kazan Church in Newark, NJ), Archpriest Petro Kunitsky (cleric of Holy New Martyrs of Russia Church in Brooklyn, NY), Priest Ion Arama (rector of Holy Annunciation Church in Flushing, NY), and Synodal clerics Fr. Igor Grytsyna, Fr. Eutychius (Dovganyuk), and Hieromonk Zosimas (Krampis).

His Grace congratulated all those gathered in church on the occasion of the feast, thanked them for their prayers during the first week of Lent, and underscored the joy of common prayer, which proves our love for God and one another.

The cathedral sisterhood held a delicious lenten luncheon for the clerics, guests, and parishioners, during which interaction between the clergy and faithful continued.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese