October 16, 2015
Buena, NJ: Patronal Feast Day marked in Holy Virgin Protection Skete

On Wednesday, October 14, the feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, the festal Divine Liturgy was celebrated at Holy Virgin Protection Skete in Buena (New Kuban), NJ. The Liturgy was celebrated by Eastern American Diocesan secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov, concelebrated by Archpriest Liubo Milosevich (rector of Holy Trinity Church in Vineland, NJ), Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov; skete rector), Priest Anatoly Revitskyy (cleric of Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Philadelphia, PA), Priest Eugene Solodky, Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ), and Deacon Dimitri Krenitsky (cleric of Holy Trinity Church in Vineland).

Holy Protection Church was built by Kuban Cossacks in the middle of the 1950s. Its icons were painted by renowned Russian Diasporan iconographer Archimandrite Cyprian (Pyzhov), while the iconostasis was painted by Bishop Daniel (Alexandrow) of Erie, then a priest. Alongside the church is a Cossack cemetery. After the repose of the last rector, Archpriest Nicholas Nekludoff, in 2004, divine services were held in the church rarely, and the church property was kept under the care of Fr. Liubo from the neighboring parish. But this year, Holy Virgin Protection Skete was opened at the former parish, and Fr. Tikhon appointed to care for the spiritual nourishment and rejuvenation of the community.

Faithful from Washington, New York, and New Jersey gathered at the skete for the patronal feast day. Many that day communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.

Upon completion of the divine services, Fr. Serge addressed worshippers with a sermon, in which he touched on the history of the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos, especially beloved by the Russian people. Fr. Serge said, in part: "There is a special world – the spiritual world. No one can enter into this world by purely means of physical laws. Each one of us carries a piece of this spiritual world within us – our immortal soul... But where are those countless millions of people who, beginning with Adam, lived upon the earth? After all, their bodies have long ago turned to dust. And here comes to mind the created nature of the world, which is composed of two parts: the spiritual and the physical. Standing between these two worlds is man. The feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos shows us the union of these two worlds, because not only is the appearance of the Mother of God praying alongside all of the saints a miracle, but it is miraculous moreover that man beheld it. The whole of the spiritual world and all of its manifestations are invisible to the human eye. We have grown accustomed to the notion that the Most Holy Theotokos and all of the saints, the entire spiritual world – are somewhere far from us. For us, it is strange and hard to believe that the Most Holy Theotokos and the saints are near to us, and that they can pray alongside us in church. The Divine Liturgy, celebrated by sinful men, is a mystery into which, in the words of the liturgical prayer, the holy angels can but desire to enter. To her most of all, the Most Holy Mother of Christ God, this Sacrifice must be closer and dearer than anything else. Do not miss the opportunity to make use of this closeness and pray to her with childlike devotion and sincere faith, crying out to her: Rejoice, our Joy, protect us from every ill by thy precious Veil."

With the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, Fr. Serge presented a diocesan gramota to Archpriest Liubo and Matushka Slavica Milosevich for their longtime service to the Holy Church, for their selfless labors in upkeep and care for the church’s cemetery.

On behalf of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan cathedral, Fr. Serge presented skete rector Hieromonk Tikhon a set of chalice covers for the various feast days, and asked the parishioners and guests to prayerfully and financially support this holy place and remember its founders in their prayers.

Fr. Tikhon thanked all those who came to share in the joy of prayerful interaction, and wished God’s aid to all.

A festal luncheon was then served for the clergy and faithful.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese