December 20, 2016
New York City: Feast of "Protectress of the Russian Diaspora"
celebrated in Synodal Cathedral
Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th of December, Metropolitan
Hilarion of Eastern America & New York led the All-Night Vigil and
Divine Liturgy for the patronal feast day of the Synodal Cathedral
of the Sign in New York City.
Eminence was co-served by archpastors who had recently participated
in the December session of the Holy Synod: Archbishops Mark of
Berlin & Germany, Kyrill of San Francisco & Western America, and
Gabriel of Montreal & Canada, Bishops Nicholas of Manhattan (vicar
of the Eastern American Diocese) and Irenei of Sacramento (vicar of
the Western American Diocese), as well as Bishop John of
Naro-Fominsk (Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA);
Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky; head of the Russian Ecclesiastical
Mission in Jerusalem), Archpriests Alexander Belya (dean of New York
City), George Konyev (chancellor of the Patriarchal Parishes in the
USA), Andrei Sommer (senior priest of the Synodal Cathedral), and
Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of Long Island & the Hudson Valley); and
an array of Synodal, diocesan, and Patriarchal clergy. Praying in
church during Liturgy was Archpriest Serafim Gan (chancellor of the
Synod of Bishops).
these festal days, the divine services proceeded under the aegis of
the marvelously adorned wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother
of God – Protectress of the Russian Diaspora. The hierarchal choir
sang under the direction of Peter Fekula. The church was filled with
worshippers, faithful, and monastics from New York and neighboring
states, the majority of whom communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
a sermon on the example the Most Holy Theotokos sets for the
faithful and on her Icon "of the Sign," Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk
said, in part: "This icon of the Most Holy Theotokos has become
renowned for its many miraculous appearances in the history of our
Church, beginning in the 13th century. When the forces of Andrew
Bogolubsky attempted to lay storm Great Novgorod, the citizens of
that city, seized with terror at the possible sacking that awaited
them, heeded the prayers of the Holy Church and, led by the
metropolitan, took the Icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign" and
climbed the city walls, processing around them and praying that the
enemy might not take the city by force. Seeing this multitude of
soldiers and civilians walking the ramparts, Andrew Bogolubsky’s
militiamen hardened their hearts, and began to release volleys of
arrows, one of which struck the Icon of the Mother of God. And then
a miracle took place: the fear of God seized the attackers, and they
fled in fear. That very day the feast "of the Sign" was established,
honoring the sign by which the Most Holy Virgin had given to all who
believed on it, freeing them from every misfortune. Several
centuries later, at the root of a tree not far from Kursk, the Most
Holy Theotokos once more showed her mercy, revealing the Kursk Root
Icon, also called "of the Sign." A multitude of people have visited
the chapel built on that site, in order to venerate the spot and
receive the Icon’s blessing."
John noted, that "If we remember the life of the Most Holy Virgin,
we will see that the greatest of her character traits was humility:
she accepted everything in her life as the will of God, including
too the appearance of the Angel and the tidings of her conception of
Him, Who would wish to save the world, with great humility and
without any thoughts or musings that could encourage personal pride.
And, thanks to this disposition of heart and soul, she received that
miraculous grace to intercede for mankind before the Throne of the
His Grace called on the faithful to remember the virtue of humility,
falling before the Kursk Root Icon "of the Sign," asking for God’s
mercy and grace to be granted unto us, that our lives might be
corrected, that through the prayers of the Most Holy Theotokos we
might obtain that treasure that she herself obtained in her time,
when she gave all of herself and her heart, her will, and her
essence to the service of God."
completion of the service, the hierarchs and clergy served a short
moleben before the holy Kursk Root Icon.
Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated all of his brother-archpastors,
clergy, and faithful with the feast, thanked all of them for their
shared prayer, and presented the senior-most hierarchs – Archbishops
Mark of Berlin & Germany and Kyrill of San Francisco & Western
America – the Order of St. Raphael of Brooklyn of the Russian and
Antiochian Orthodox Churches.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of his priestly service and for his
zealous labors on behalf of the Holy Church, Fr. Serafim Gan was
presented a gramota from the President of the Synod of Bishops of
the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. In honor of his
zealous labors in the vineyard of church singing, a gramota from the
President of the Synod of Bishops was presented to Anatoly
Panchoshny, longtime member of the Synodal choir.
A festal luncheon was organized for the clergy and faithful by the
cathedral sisterhood in the church hall.
Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese