July 22, 2016
New York City: Synodal Cathedral’s English-Language Mission marks Patronal Feast Day

On Monday, July 18, the feast of the Uncovering of the Relics of the Venerable Sergius, Abbot of Radonezh, and the patronal feast of the English-Language Mission at the Synodal Cathedral, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, celebrated Divine Liturgy in St. Sergius Chapel at the Synodal Headquarters in New York City. His Grace was co-served by Archimandrite Maximos (Weimar; abbot of Holy Cross Brotherhood in East Setauket, NY), Abbot Cornelius (Apukhtin; cleric of the Nativity of the Mother of God Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY), Hieromonk Zosimas (Krampis; mission rector), Archpriest David Cowan (rector of Holy Trinity OCA Church in Yonkers, NY), Priest Richard Stoecker (mission cleric), and Protodeacons Vadim Gan and Dionysius Lvov (Synodal clerics). Praying in the altar was Archpriest Serafim Gan (chancellor of the Synod of Bishops).

At the service, for his dedicated service to the Church and with the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion, Bishop Nicholas awarded Fr. Richard Stoecker the right to wear the nabedrennik.

Upon completion of the Liturgy, many of the mission’s parishioners communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries. Bishop Nicholas congratulated the clergy and parishioners on the occasion of their patronal feast, and said in his sermon, in part: "Venerable Sergius lived a life of prayer, fasting, and monasticism. He did not need this glorification. But God saw his virtues, his struggles, and saw fit to reveal his relics. But why did the Lord perform this miracle? And why is the uncovering of his relics significant for us? The Lord in this way showed us that St. Sergius – who was a man like all of us, living on this earth that God created – had to fight to acquire the grace of God. He had to pray, to fast, to follow Christ’s commandments, in order to attain that true harmony with God, that harmony that was lost through the sin of Adam. Paradise was lost. But Christ the Savior came to earth to save man from sin, to give us an opportunity to be reborn and to cleanse ourselves of sin.

"In our time, people do not fulfill the Lord’s commandments, and God reminds us that we must labor in order to acquire holiness, to strive toward the ideal shown to us by Venerable Sergius of Radonezh. This ideal may seem to us far-off and abstract. But it is not so. Today’s feast reminds us of the opportunity to acquire holiness, of the fact that we are not alone in this world, in this struggle – that St. Sergius intercedes for us before God."

His Grace called on the faithful to begin a new life in Christ: to attend the divine services more frequently, to truly fast and await the fasting days and periods as opportunities to pray more, to be closer to God.

At the proposal of mission rector Hiermonk Zosimas, for their labors on behalf of the mission – singing in the choir, baking prosphoras and cooking parish luncheons, adorning and financially supporting the church – Bishop Nicholas awarded hierarchal gramotas to the following mission parishioners: Juan Gonsalez, Anna Shelly Prichard, Dimitra Kapoulides, Nicole Ruben, and Ia Iolanta O’Neill.

Fr. Zosimas thanked Bishop Nicholas and his brother clergy for their shared prayer, and thanked the parishioners for their labors, which – although often unseen – are vital for the parish.

Upon completion of the service, a festal luncheon was held in the church hall for clergy and parishioners.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese