September 14, 2016
Jackson, NJ: Bishop Jerome leads 40th Anniversary Commemoration of
Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky)
Saturday, September 4, 1976, Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky) of
Washington & Florida reposed in the Lord at the age of 84. Born in
Borki, Chernigov in the Russian Empire to the family of a priest,
Archbishop Nikon would graduate from Chernigov Theological Seminary
and the University of St. Vladimir in Kiev. He attended various
military academies, served in the White Army, and was evacuated from
Crimea with his family in 1920. He worked in publications until
1941, when he dedicated is life fully to God and the Church and was
tonsured a monk by Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky), First
Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. He was ordained to the
diaconate and priesthood that same year; in 1946, he emigrated to
the United States, and in 1948 was consecrated Bishop of Florida.
Over the years of his vicariate, and especially under the tutelage
of Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko), Archbishop Nikon have a powerful
influence over the growth and development of the Eastern American
Diocese, particularly overseeing the establishment of new churches.
He traveled extensively throughout the Church Abroad, and was a
longtime professor at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville. He wrote
extensively, especially for missionary purposes, and culminated his
works with the
Biography of Blessed Anthony, Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia.
After his sudden repose, he was buried alongside Archbishop Vitaly
in the lower church of St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ,
the completion of which he helped oversee.
On Sunday, September 4, the clergy and faithful gathered at St.
Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ to commemorate the 40th
anniversary of the repose of a great luminary of the Russian Church
Abroad: Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky). Celebrating Divine Liturgy was
His Grace, Bishop Jerome, who for several years served as Archbishop
Nikon’s cell attendant. His Grace was co-served by deputy rector
Priest Serge Ledkovsky and Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (cleric of St.
Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ).
completion of the Liturgy, Bishop Jerome addressed believers with a
sermon, in which he said, in part: "We heard today in the Epistle
reading: ‘You are the seal of my apostleship.’ The seal of our
apostleship is, of course, when the people stand firm in the Faith
and are active members of the Church. It is a great accomplishment
to build a church, but it is an even greater accomplishment to
create a parish in that church. We are standing in a church founded
78 years ago (in 1938) by Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko). He began
this undertaking and supported the project for the remainder of his
days. His successor, Archbishop Nikon, continued this great work,
not only of the construction of the memorial church, but of creating
a parish within it. Why are these accomplishments considered great?
Because each one of us has only so much time allotted to us in this
life; we know that man lives only 70, 80, 90 years, and the last of
these, as it says in the Psalter, are labor and sorrow. But the
church remains, and that good work that we began in our lifetimes
remains after us and brings us joy and comfort in the next life.
Similarly, the evil that we do in this life brings us sorrow in the
next. But a church does not pray – people pray. And it is very
important that we all fulfill the testaments of our ancestors, of
our holy hierarchs, of our parents, grandparents, and the holy
fathers of the Church, who show us the path to salvation. Among them
undoubtedly is Archbishop Nikon, who made an irreplaceable
contribution to the life of this community and the whole Church
Abroad. May his memory be eternal."
An epistle from Metropolitan Hilarion of
Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church
Abroad, regarding the occasion of His Eminence’s repose was then
read aloud. After the dismissal, the clergy and faithful descended
into the lower St. Olga’s Church, where a panihida was served at
Archbishop Nikon’s graveside. A luncheon then followed, during which
Bishop Jerome shared some of his recollections of his time serving
with the hierarch.
Memory eternal to Archbishop Nikon!
Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese