March 19, 2015
Howell, NJ: Presanctified Liturgy concludes Eastern American
Diocesan Lenten Retreat for Clergy & Matushkas
Wednesday, March 18, the Lenten Retreat for clergy and matushkas of
the Eastern American Diocese, being held at St. Alexander Nevsky
Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ, drew to a close. Bishop George of
Mayfield led the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, co-served by
Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and clergy
participating in the Lenten Retreat. All three days of the
conference took place under the protection of the Icon of the Mother
of God "Softener of Evil Hearts," which was present in the
At the Little Entrance, in accordance with the resolution of the
ROCOR Synod of Bishops and with the blessing of Metropolitan
Hilarion, Bishop George bestowed awards upon several clerics of the
Eastern American Diocese:
- Abbot German (Ciuba; rector of St. Stephen Church in Old Forge,
PA) was awarded the right to wear the palitsa and jeweled cross.
- Archpriest Alexander Donchenko (rector of St. Nicholas Church in
Poughkeepsie, NY) was awarded the right to wear the jeweled cross.
- Archpriest Alexis Duncan (rector of Nativity of the Mother of God
Church in Albany, NY) was awarded the right to wear the jeweled
- Archpriest Seraphim Stephens (former rector of St. Joseph of
Optina Church in Virginia Beach, VA) was awarded the right to wear
the jeweled cross.
- Priest Paul Ivanov (rector of Holy Myrrhbearers Church in
Brooklyn, NY) was elevated to the rank of archpriest.
- Deacon Alexander Doohovskoy (cleric of St. Xenia Church in
Methuen, MA) was awarded the right to wear the double orarion.
completion of the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, the clergy and
a multitude of the faithful, who attended that day in order to pray
at the magnificent lenten services, communed of Christ’s Holy Gifts.
Archimandrite Demetrios (Carellas), chaplain of Nativity of the
Mother of God Greek Convent in Saxonburg, PA, addressed the faithful
with a sermon. Fr. Demetrios drew special attention to the matushkas
participating in the conference, and used real-life examples to
describe the invaluable role played by the Mother of God in our
lives, as well as the necessity of running to her in prayer and
asking her help and intercession.
In his farewell address, Bishop George, who will be traveling to his
new place of service in the Diocese of Australia & New Zealand,
thanked the Icon’s guardian, Sergey Fomin, for bringing the holy
image; he also spoke about his imminent departure for Australia and
asked the prayers of all present. His Grace noted that it is not for
us to question the ways of the Lord, but rather to thank the Savior,
firmly believing that all that we are given is for our salvation.
Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan thanked Bishop George for their shared
prayer, and wished him especial strength from the Cross, both in the
remaining days of Great Lent, and in his new place of service.
behalf of the clergy and faithful of the Eastern American Diocese,
Bishop Nicholas presented Bishop George with a hand-painted gramota
in gratitude for his labors in the Diocese.
On behalf of the Diocesan Council, clergy, matushkas, and
parishioners, diocesan secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov also
sincerely thanked His Grace for his archpastoral labors to the
benefit of the clergy and faithful, and presented Bishop George with
a palitsa bearing an icon of the Holy Trinity, as "a spiritual
shield, a defense and fortification, in memory of the Diocese." His
Grace assured the clergy and faithful of his prayers.
Retreat participants adopted a
Resolution that touched on the need for increased work with
the next generation. "Understanding the vital need to nourish our
youth, we call upon pastors, families, and parishes to increase
their ardent support of liturgical life, activities, and involvement
of young people, ensuring the future health of the Church," reads
the Resolution. "It is an obvious fact that, if we do not
energetically begin making our work with the youth a primary focus,
there will be a seriously diminished likelihood of a future Church
filled with vitality. This focus must begin in the home with the
upbringing of children nourished with prayer, the Word of God, and
the lives of the saints, as well as the encouragement of parish
priests in the establishment of Sunday schools and youth discussion
groups. Also of primary importance are activities such as the annual
St. Herman Youth Conferences, summer camps, and pilgrimages. These
must not be merely declarations from the clergy and parents, but
personal and heartfelt interaction and encouragement. This process
of the churching of future generations must begin today."
the Lenten Retreat, a group photo was taken of all of the
participants. A delicious lenten luncheon was offered in the parish
hall, and brotherly interaction continued at length. Throughout the
whole of the conference, participants especially prayed for the
health of Archpriest George Larin, rector of Holy Virgin Protection
Church in Nyack, NY, and one of the Diocese’s senior-most clerics,
who over the last month underwent two serious operations. On the
final day of the retreat, they sent Fr. George a get-well card
signed by all of the participants and wishing him a speedy recovery.
In the second half of the day, the clergy departed for home to
resume their pastoral service, and the myrrh-streaming Icon, which
is making a repeat visit to the Eastern American Diocese, continued
its travels to Washington and onward to the Diocese’s parishes and
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