July 14, 2016
Brooklyn, NY: Archbishop Gabriel
of Montreal & Canada leads Minor Patronal Feast of St. John the Forerunner Cathedral

On Thursday, July 7, the feast of the Nativity of the Holy Prophet St. John the Baptist, with the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada visited St. John the Forerunner Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, and celebrated the Divine Liturgy in honor of its minor patronal feast day.

At Liturgy, His Eminence was co-served by His Grace, Bishop Jerome, and cathedral, diocesan, and visiting clergy:

-          Archpriest Alexander Belya (cathedral rector, dean of New York City)

-          Archimandrite Luke (Murianka; abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY)

-          Archpriest George Kallaur (rector of Our Lady "Unexpected Joy" Church on Staten Island, NY)

-          Archpriest Petro Zgoba (cleric of "Unexpected Joy" Church)

-          Archpriest Basil Yurina (cleric of the Mukachevo Diocese of the UOC)

-          Archpriest Vasiliy Raskovskiy (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City)

-          Priest Basil Kirichuk (cleric of the Rovno Diocese of the UOC)

-          Hieromonk Photius (Oulanov; cleric of Holy Virgin Intercession Church in Glen Cove, NY)

-          Priest Valery Trukhan (cleric of the Minsk Diocese of the Belorussian Exarchate)

-          Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral)

-          Protodeacon Vasily Milonow (cleric of the Canadian Diocese)

-          Deacon Rostislav Zadorozhny (cathedral cleric).

The festal spirit of the Divine Liturgy was augmented by the marvelous singing of the cathedral choir, along with the fact that St. John the Forerunner Cathedral is in a state of ongoing beautification. A new altar table was installed before Pascha, while a new tabernacle was purchased before Pentecost. Most recently, a new set of fans and processional icon were obtained.

Upon conclusion of the divine service, Archbishop Gabriel addressed the faithful with a sermon on the subject of the feast: "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist" (Matt. 11:11), said the Savior Himself of the prophet. In the words of the archpastor, the greatness of St. John the Forerunner is that "he was vouchsafed to go before the Messiah and to prepare the people to accept Him through repentance." He was also found worthy of the honor of baptizing the Savior, "in order to fulfill all righteousness." Archbishop Gabriel wished that, by the prayers of St. John the Baptist, all might live in abstinence from sin as much as possible. But if at some point, owing to infirmity, weakness, or negligence, man is to stumble or fall, he must always remember that repentance exists – it is a great gift from God, which was and is preached to us by St. John the Baptist.

Fr. Alexander Belya then congratulated the Archbishop on the 20th anniversary of his hierarchal consecration, wishing him long years of service. (On this day in 1996, Archimandrite Gabriel (Chemodakov) was consecrated Bishop of Brisbane, vicar of the Diocese of Australia & New Zealand.) Fr. Alexander noted that, for many years, New York was Archbishop Gabriel’s place of service (in his capacity as Bishop of Manhattan), and he was pleased that the archpastor saw fit to celebrate his anniversary in the Brooklyn cathedral. On behalf of those gathered, His Eminence was presented with a bouquet of red roses (at the beginning of Liturgy, Archbishop Gabriel was presented with a new set of hierarchal red vestments, in which he served).

Many warm words were offered to His Eminence by Bishop Jerome and visiting clergy.

After the service, a bountiful lenten luncheon was offered in the parish hall, during which Archbishop Gabriel also congratulated Matushka Kristina Belya on the occasion of her birthday.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese