February 16, 2016
Buena, NJ: Weekly Divine Services resume at Holy Protection Skete

After twenty years, weekly divine services have resumed at Holy Protection Male Skete in Buena, NJ. The services began anew on February 3 of this year, and will be held on Saturdays and great feasts (Hours at 9:30 AM, Divine Liturgy at 10:00). On the first week of Great Lent, the services will be held daily, with the reading of the Penitential Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete.

Construction of Holy Protection Church began in 1959 in the Cossack settlement of "Novaya [New] Kuban," with the blessing and direct participation of Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky) of Washington & Florida. Frescos for the church were completed by the renowned iconographer of the Russian Diaspora, Archimandrite Cyprian (Pyzhov) of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, while the iconostasis was the work of Bishop Daniel of Erie – at that time still the layman Dmitry Alexandrow. The Cossack church became a place where hundreds of Cossack refugees would gather and work tirelessly to preserve their traditions and way of life.

In the years to follow, the church nourished not only "Novaya Kuban," but also surrounding towns. In early 1964, a parish school and library were organized at the church, and a Russian cemetery founded on the parish grounds.

As the years went by, the Cossacks aged and the younger generations moved away. For many years after the repose of the last rector – Archpriest Nikolai Nekludoff – in 2004, the divine services were held very rarely, and the parish was placed under the supervision of Archpriest Liubo Milosevich of the neighboring Holy Trinity Church in Vineland.

In the autumn of 2015, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York signed a directive organizing Holy Protection Male Skete at the former parish. For the community’s spiritual nourishment and rebirth, Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov) was assigned as rector of the skete. The Divine Liturgy for the patronal feast day on October 14 of last year was celebrated by the secretary of the Eastern American Diocese, Archpriest Serge Lukianov.

Many Cossack stanitzas, founded in America over the course of the 20th century, have ceased to exist. Among the several dozen churches founded by the Cossacks, Holy Protection Church is one of the few remaining, and everything in our prayers and in our power must be done to prevent its closing and to ensure its future growth.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese