March 17, 2015
Howell, NJ: Lenten Clergy Retreat commences with Panihida to Metropolitan Laurus

On Monday, March 16, the traditional Lenten Retreat for the clergy and matushkas of the Eastern American Diocese opened at the Diocesan Center at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ. Over 100 people are taking part in the pastoral retreat. The priests, deacons, and matushkas who arrived for the conference gathered in the historic Lady of Tikhvin Church, established with the blessing of the founder of the Eastern American Diocese, Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko). Cathedral cleric Priest Seraphim Chemodakov served Great Compline.

Bishop George of Mayfield (vicar of the Eastern American Diocese) led the panihida for the ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus, co-served by Their Graces, Bishops Nicholas of Manhattan (vicar of the Eastern American Diocese) and John of Naro-Fominsk (Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA), as well as Archpriest Constantine Semyanko (cleric of Holy Presentation Church in Stratford, CT), Priest Seraphim Wing (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Edinboro, PA), and cathedral cleric Deacon Paul Drozdowski.

Before the beginning of the panihida, Bishop George read aloud an address in English from His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, currently performing an archpastoral visit in the Diocese of Australia & New Zealand. Bishop Nicholas read the address in Russian. In his address, Metropolitan Hilarion noted the significance of the person and work of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus for the united Russian Orthodox Church, his labors in raising up several generations of ROCOR clergy and illumining the faithful of the Church Abroad. "For me, interaction with this man was a joy. Meeting such men comes once in a generation; these are people through whom shines a light that gives us strength and the opportunity to be inspired by a Christian life and strive to live according to its example. We believe that Metropolitan Laurus, who loved everyone as they loved him, prays for us even now… Our panihida today, our shared prayer, is an expression of our love for and memory of him."

Upon completion of the panihida, participants of the pastoral retreat were offered dinner in the parish hall. Tuesday, March 17, marks the official opening of the conference, which will begin with a moleben in St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral before the myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts," which is visiting the Diocese from Moscow.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese