April 28, 2016
Brooklyn, NY: Metropolitan Hilarion performs Lesser Consecration of "Inexhaustible Chalice" Church

On Lazarus Saturday, April 23, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York performed the Lesser Consecration of the Stavropegial Church of the Icon of the Mother of God "Inexhaustible Chalice" in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, after which he celebrated the Divine Liturgy. His Eminence was co-served by parish rector Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine, dean Hieromonk Yeliferiy (Skiba), Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov; rector of Holy Protection Male Skete in Buena, NJ), and Protodeacon Vadim Gan and Deacon Dionysus Lvov (clerics of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City).

"When the church in Brighton Beach had to be closed due to exigent circumstances, it moved to another location with sufficient space, which we hoped would become the church’s new home," explains the rector, Fr. Alexandre. "For a number of reasons, this building too was closed, and for four months we searched for a suitable new location. Finally, in the middle of November of last year, we found a new, two-story building, on the first floor of which we proposed to build the church, and on the second, an apartment for the priest, an office, storage room, and bookstore.

"Renovations on the first floor continued for five weeks, and on December 28, the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated, marking the church’s official opening. In order to ensure quicker and calmer growth of parish life, the church received the status of a Metropolitan Metochion."

All of the costs of construction and renovation were assumed by AZCC Builders, Inc. In order to more quickly realize a life of prayer in the church, divine services began to be served regularly (in February alone, 20 liturgies were celebrated). The people returned to the parish that had once been their second home, and began to adorn it. Parish life grew well-established, and the faithful awaited the church’s consecration.

Upon completion of the hierarchal Liturgy, a great number of the faithful communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries. In accordance with tradition, on the eve of Palm Sunday, His Eminence performed the blessing of the palms and pussy willows.

Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated the clergy and faithful with the feast, and noted the importance for the faithful of maintaining a presence in the church, as it is here that Christians are given everything they need for eternal salvation.

His Eminence expressed his joy at the consecration of the church, "a humble, but simultaneously marvelous building, full of God’s grace, where the holy angels and the Most Holy Theotokos stand invisibly alongside us."

Metropolitan Hilarion thanked Fr. Alexandre, Fr. Yeliferiy, and their assistants for their selfless labors toward preserving the parish and making it flourish. His Eminence awarded Hierarchal gramotas to all those who labored in the renovation: Archpriest Alexandre and AZCC Builders, Inc. construction company, treasurer Tatiana Telarico, Andrei Fedukhin, head sister Irina Matkov, the Metropolitan Metochion Choir and its conductor Zlata Mishina, Svetlana Lubomir, Elizabeth Yaremchuk, and Lev and Raisa Menshov.

Greeting the Metropolitan, Fr. Alexandre thanked His Eminence for his prayerful support, thanks to which the community finally found a home where, after a long interruption, the large parish family can now gather together once more for joint prayer. He also said, in part, "There are many various buildings in the world, from royal palaces to squalid huts. From the magnificent to the inconspicuous, many so seize the human imagination that they are spoken of as symbols of one or another architectural style. However, one can say with the utmost surety that all of these buildings are incomparably and by many degrees outshone by any, even the simplest, church built in honor of the Lord and for His service. In the words of a distinguished hierarch of the 19th century, the holiness of God’s house is that which is loftier than any adornment and greater than any wealth. All other buildings are built for mankind, while the church is dedicated to the honor and glory of God and to His service. It is especially joyous and providential that the consecration of our church fell on today’s date, when the Holy Church recalls the resurrection of the Righteous Lazarus, and we believe that the Lord will also resurrect our parish and grant us a spirit of peace."

Fr. Alexandre thanked all those who labored in the construction and adornment of the church. In gratitude for his spiritual support, the rector presented Metropolitan Hilarion with a klobuk (cowl) decorated (in honor of the feast) with a cross studded with green gems. Expressing his sincere thanks to the rector, the Metropolitan noted that it was on this day, Lazarus Saturday forty years ago, when the future Metropolitan (then Bishop) Laurus ordained him to the priesthood. The choir sang "Many Years" to Metropolitan Hilarion.

Unfortunately, the church gained access to the second floor later than anticipated (only by the middle of March). Construction and renovation work is currently actively underway, and it is anticipated that the parish dean will be able to move into the apartment by Pascha, and the large bookstore will open there in May. After Pascha, the parish will decide how to proceed with renovating the basement, as well, where parishioners plan to locate a refectory and space for the St. John of Kronstadt Fund.

"The St. John of Kronstadt Fund is the only official fund of its name that is blessed to carry out its activities. It was never closed, and now continues to exist," explains Fr. Alexandre. "We hope that, when we have organized sufficient space, the Fund’s offices will move here, as well. Right now, we are continuing to offer aid to those in need in Brighton, helping, in part, to pay for tickets for those wishing to return to their homeland – to Russia and the Ukraine."

Many icons adorn the church, including Georgian icons with relics of especially venerated Georgian saints. In the near future, benefactors hope to present the parish with a copy of the wonderworking Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos Pantanassa ("Queen of All"), which is an aid to those suffering from cancer and various forms of addiction. Life in the parish is growing; people come to the church to pray and to help the needy of Brighton Beach.

The Church of our Lady "Inexhaustible Chalice" (a Stavropegial Metropolitan Metochion) is open daily from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and is located at:

Church of Our Lady "The Inexhaustible Chalice"
3117 Coney Island Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11235

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese