March 25, 2016
Howell, NJ: Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan performs Archpastoral Visit
to St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Monday the 21st and Tuesday the 22nd of March, continuing his lenten
archpastoral travels to parishes of the Eastern American Diocese,
Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan visited
St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ, and led
Matins and Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Forty Martyrs of
Liturgy, His Grace was co-served by Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov
(dean of New Jersey), Archpriests Serge Lukianov (cathedral dean),
Petro Kunitsky (cleric of Holy New Martyrs Church in Brooklyn, NY),
Boris Slootsky (cathedral cleric), and Zoran Radovic (rector of St.
George’s Serbian Church in Elizabeth, NJ), Priest Serge Ledkovsky
(deputy rector of St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ), and
Protodeacon Paul Drozdowski (cathedral cleric). Singing and praying
during the service were cathedral clerics Priest Seraphim Chemodakov
and Protodeacon Leonid Roschko.
it being a weekday, many people gathered in church, the majority of
whom – including Bishop Nicholas – are the spiritual children of the
cathedral’s pastor emeritus, Fr. Valery Lukianov, who that day was
celebrating his namesday.
Upon completion of the service, the clergy served a short moleben
before the icon of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.
Addressing the faithful with a sermon, His Grace said, in part:
"Today, we celebrate the memory of the Holy Martyrs of Sebaste,
praising their spiritual feat and martyrdom. The word ‘martyr’ means
‘witness;’ in this complex age, the Lord has called on us to be
witnesses of the Orthodox Faith, of the Gospel truth, and of Church
life. This means that we must lead a life in the Church, observe the
fasts, and attend the divine services. In this way, we will join the
witness of the Orthodox Faith."
Bishop Nicholas also reminded worshippers of the example set by St.
Mary of Egypt, who is mentioned in the Great Penitential Canon on
the first week of Great Lent: "St. Mary of Egypt recognized her
sinfulness and departed into the desert, in order to repent and to
lead a spiritual struggle in fasting, prayer and contrition. Not all
of us can go into the desert, but in our thoughts we can refuse to
be part of this sinful world, choosing instead to bear witness to
our faith within it."
Grace congratulated Fr. Valery on his namesday, relaying greetings
from Metropolitan Hilarion, and wishing him strength and God’s aid,
expressing his sincere joy and their shared prayerful interaction.
On behalf of cathedral parishioners, Fr. Serge Lukianov presented
Fr. Valery with forty red roses in honor of the Forty Martyrs, and
wished him many years of service to the Holy Church.
parish sisterhood baked the traditional ‘lark’ pastries for all of
the parishioners, and invited all to a festal luncheon, where the
hierarch and faithful were able to continue their interaction. At
the luncheon, Fr. Valery spoke briefly, sharing touching details
from the lives of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.
After the luncheon, Bishop Nicholas walked through Nevsky Park,
where he spoke with some of the workers and thanked them for their
labors, blessing them and their continued work in beautifying the
territory surrounding the diocesan cathedral. His Grace then led a
regular meeting of the diocesan administration, at which were
discussed details of the upcoming Lenten Clergy Retreat, which will
take place at the Diocesan Center March 28-30.
Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese