July 30, 2016
Beltsville, MD: Metropolitan Hilarion leads 15th Anniversary Celebrations of Holy Apostles Church

On Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th of July, the parishioners of Holy Apostles Church in Beltsville, MD, celebrated the 15th anniversary of their parish. The divine services were led His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, under the aegis of the myrrh-streaming Hawaiian-Iveron Icon of the Mother of God.

Holy Apostles parish was founded 15 years ago, on July 13, 2001, with the purpose of bringing the Gospel and divine services of the Holy Orthodox Church to the people of America in the English language. The parish is dedicated to the Lord’s Holy Apostles, the beautiful feet of the Gospel: "Let us honor the most precious vessels, the receptacles of the virtues, the first-fruits of humanity, the clarions of preaching, the torrents of life incorruptible, the God-bearing flashes of lightning, the well-springs of healing, the beautiful feet of the Gospel" (Ode 8, Canon of the Twelve Apostles).

The festal celebrations began earlier in the week, with the All-Vigil and Divine Liturgy for the Lord’s Holy Apostles, on Saturday the 12th and Sunday the 13th of July. The following weekend, the faithful commemorated, in addition to the Resurrection of Christ, the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia and the Theotokos, along with the Holy Apostles.

The church was a garden of flowers. There were two central analogia, one for the Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia, the other for the Holy Myrrh-Streaming Hawaiian Icon of the Mother of God. The analogion covers were red for the martyrs, and blue for the Mother of God. The icons were each surrounded by wonderful wreaths: the Royal Martyrs’ wreath in a multitude of colors, the Mother of God’s in white and blue. The church was fragrant with myrrh from the Mother of God’s holy, grace-filled icon.

Serving with Metropolitan Hilarion was the parish clergy: rector Archpriest George Johnson, assistant rector Priest Christopher Johnson, and Deacon Christopher Capp. Deacon John Dean from St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC, was also serving. The little church was full of people who shared in the joy of the feast.

After the Divine Liturgy, the Icon’s guardian, Subdeacon Nectarios, presented Fr. George and the parish with a beautiful handmade copy of the Hawaiian-Iveron icon, made by the sisterhood of his parish, the Iveron Mother of God Church in Honolulu, complete with a commemorative plaque in honor of the parish’s 15th anniversary and with well-wishing for the clergy and faithful.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese