July 23, 2016
Rocky Hill, NJ: Metropolitan Hilarion
leads Patronal Feast Day of St. Elizabeth the New-Martyr Church
Monday, July 18, the feast of the martyric repose of the Venerable
Nun-Martyrs Elizabeth and Barbara, the First Hierarch of the Russian
Church Abroad, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern
America & New York, paid an archpastoral visit to
St. Elizabeth the New-Martyr Church
in Rocky Hill, NJ and led its patronal feast day.
His Eminence was co-served at the Liturgy by Eastern American
Diocesan secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov, parish rector
Archpriest David Straut, Archpriest Rafael Melendez (Albanian
Orthodox Church), Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov; abbot of Holy
Protection Skete in Buena, NJ), Priest Michael
Volzhansky (cleric of the Diocese of Lipetsk), Protodeacon Paul
Drozdowski (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral), and
parish Deacons Seraphim Komleski, Steven Barker, and Stephanos
his sermon, His Eminence spoke of the ascetic labors and martyr
sufferings of the holy nun-martyrs Elizabeth and Barbara, saying, in
part: "Today we commemorate the
martyrdom of the Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Nun Barbara, as well as
the young noblemen who were thrown into the mine shaft that became
their Golgotha. They received the martyr's crown in the town of
Alapaevsk on the day after the martyrdom of the Royal Family - Tsar
Nicholas, Tsaritsa Alexandra, and their august children. St.
Elizabeth is a woman who is a great inspiration to all of us - not
just to all Orthodox Christians, but to many throughout the world,
even those who are not Orthodox. They see in her image, in her life,
a great example of love for God and love for others. Though raised a
Protestant, she wholeheartedly and of her own volition adopted the
Orthodox Faith. She loved her Faith, and she loved Russia, as well,
where she stayed even after the assassination of her husband. Even
after the revolution, she refused to leave, opting to stay with her
people in troubled times.
remains an inspiration to those who have come to Orthodoxy and who
are seeking Orthodoxy from other religions. Many have been drawn to
her because of her charitable work and her works of mercy. She
endured the agony of her husband's murder with Christian fortitude
and faith, even going to the assassin in prison and offering him
forgiveness. She totally devoted herself to works of love and
charity, imitating her sister, the Empress, and the royal children,
who were also deeply involved in charitable works. She founded her
own convent, a house of mercy where she and other sisters brought in
those who needed care and mercy and nurturing, thus imitating the
Biblical sisters Martha and Mary - one who loved to work and serve,
and the other who loved to spend her time in prayer and
contemplation. Through her martyr's crown, God highlights for us her
deep faith and an example of acquiring the Kingdom of Heaven."
completion of the Liturgy, a short moleben was served to Ven.
Sergius of Radonezh (whose memory is also celebrated on this day)
and St. Elizabeth. The deacon then intoned the Polychronion for the
archpastors, rector, clergy, parishioners, namesday celebrants, and
all Orthodox Christians.
Hilarion presented a diocesan gramota to Reader Gregory and Claudia
Maxey, who have labored throughout the parish’s history in the choir
and on the kliros, and
have also provided the parish with much-needed financial support.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of his ordination, the parish
congratulated Fr. David, and presented him a new kamilavka as a
After the service, the clergy, parishioners, and guests gathered
beneath a tent behind the church, where the sisterhood had prepared
a bountiful festal luncheon.
Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese