July 11, 2016
Mayfield, PA: Double Hierarchal Liturgy for Patronal Feast of St. John the Baptist Cathedral

On Wednesday the 6th and Thursday the 7th of July, the feast of the Nativity of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist of the Lord John, St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA celebrated its patronal feast day. On Wednesday evening, cathedral clergy, led by rector Archpriest John Sorochka, served the All-Night Vigil. The following morning, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, celebrated the Divine Liturgy. His Grace was co-served by Bishop Nicholas of Salavat & Kumertau, currently visiting the U.S. from Russia, and by cathedral, diocesan, and local clergy:

-          Archpriest John Sorochka (cathedral rector)

-          Archpriest David Hritcko (rector of St. Basil’s Church in Simpson, PA)

-          Archpriest Basil Micek (rector of Sts. Peter & Paul Church MP in Scranton, PA)

-          Archimandrite Sergius (Bowyer; abbot of St. Tikhon’s Monastery OCA in South Canaan, PA)

-          Archpriest Claude Vinyard (rector of Holy Protection Mission in Lewisburg, PA)

-          Archpriest Serge Lukianov (Eastern American Diocesan secretary)

-          Archpriest Michael Lepa (rector of St. Nicholas Church MP in Wilkes-Barre, PA)

-          Archpriest Liubo Milosevich (rector of Holy Trinity Church in Vineland, NJ)

-          Abbot German (Ciuba; rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Old Forge, PA)

-          Priest James Dougherty (diocesan cleric)

-          Protodeacon Stephen Howanetz (cathedral cleric)

-          Protodeacon Gregory Petrochko (cathedral cleric)

-          Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY)

-          Deacon Michael Pavuk (cathedral cleric)

-          Deacon Nathaniel Sorochka (cathedral cleric)

-          Deacon Dimitri Krenitsky (cleric of Holy Trinity Church in Vineland, NJ)

The divine services were adorned by the singing of the cathedral choir, under the direction of choir conductor Paul (Gary) Brzuchalski.

Upon completion of the service, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan delivered a short sermon, in which he said, in part: "Today we heard about the Righteous Zacharias, the father of St. John the Baptist, who was punished for his disbelief. His tongue was tied – he was silenced – when he challenged how his elderly wife could conceive a child. And when a son was born from Elizabeth, and when Zacharias also wrote and reassured everyone that his son’s name would be John… everyone marveled at this, and Zacharias’ tongue was loosened, and he was able to speak, and praised God. We celebrate today this birth, and it is important for us to celebrate all births, brothers and sisters. In celebrating this birth, the birth of Christ, the birth of the Mother of God, the Church answers this question and proclaims that life must be celebrated, and not terminated. As Orthodox Christians, we must remember this defend this ideal – defend life, defend birth, defend our youth. Just as Zacharias was allowed to speak and proclaim the glory of God, so also I call on all of you to speak loudly, to glorify this birth, to defend our Orthodox Faith. Surrounding us, simply put, is evil: an anti-Christian era. And here today, we are reminded of this birth, of the greatest son born of women. We are reminded that we are not alone, that the Forerunner is preparing the path for our Savior, Jesus Christ."

The Magnification was then sung to St. John the Baptist, after which Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan greeting Bishop Nicholas of Salavat & Kumertau, saying, "Your Grace, dear Bishop Nicholas, on behalf of the rector, Fr. John, the clergy and parishioners of this cathedral, I greet you on your arrival in the Eastern American Diocese. Today, we mark the patronal feast day of this cathedral. I especially greet you with this feast and thank you for your prayers, for your service, and for your visit. This cathedral is particularly historic: in September, we will celebrate the 125th anniversary of its founding. The original church was smaller and in a slightly different location, but, as I’ve been told, the iconostasis has remained the same. It was these same Royal Doors through which walked Bishop Tikhon of Alaska and North America, the future Patriarch of Moscow & All Russia, the New-Martyr and Confessor. St. John, St. Tikhon, and all of the New Martyrs of Russia have gathered us in prayer here today. We bear witness to our Faith, we thank God for our unity and, most importantly, we lift up our prayers before the Holy Altar with one breath, one heart, and one mind. We thank God for His great mercies on us, and wish you, Your Grace, strength, spiritual joy, and a fruitful visit to our Diocese."

The protodeacon then intoned the Polychronion for the hierarchs, clergy, parishioners, and namesday celebrants.

After the service, a bountiful lenten luncheon was served in the parish center.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese