March 21, 2016
Howell, NJ: Bishop Jerome leads Divine Services & Rite of Orthodoxy in St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

On Saturday, March 19, Bishop Jerome paid an archpastoral visit to St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ.

On Sunday, March 22, the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, Bishop Jerome celebrated Divine Liturgy in the cathedral. His Grace was co-served by Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov (dean of New Jersey), Archpriests Serge Lukianov (cathedral dean), Rafael Melendez (Albanian Orthodox Church), and Boris Slootsky (cathedral cleric), Priests Seraphim Chemodakov (cathedral cleric) and George Kaplanov, and cathedral Protodeacons Leonid Roschko and Paul Drozdowski.

It is traditional for all of the faithful to commune of Christ’s Holy Mysteries upon completion of the First Week of Great Lent. At the service, a multitude of parishioners and students of the parish’s Russian School took Holy Communion. Bishop Jerome addressed the faithful with a sermon, in which he reminded those present of the meaning and significance of believing correctly, as we were commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ, and also explained the meaning of the "anathema" service.

Co-served by the clergy, Bishop Jerome then led the Rite of Orthodoxy, which was originally established in the 9th century in honor of the final defeat of Iconoclasm. In 843, Patriarch Methodius of Constantinople instituted this festal service, which represents the triumph of the Church over all of the heresies and schisms that have existed. In it is confirmed not only Orthodox teaching, but also all of the dogmas and resolutions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Blessed are not only the iconodules, but also all those hierarchs, rulers, and people who lived and reposed in the Lord in faith and piety. A special place in the service is dedicated to the Rite of Anathema: anathemas are proclaimed aloud by all of the people not only against the iconoclasts, but also all those who have committed grievous assaults against the Church.

Upon completion of the service, Fr. Serge Lukianov addressed Bishop Jerome with words of congratulation: on April 11, 1976, then-subdeacon John Shaw was ordained to the diaconate by the ever-memorable Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky) of Washington & Florida, and later – on April 25, ordained to the priesthood at St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ. On behalf of the Ruling Bishop, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, and the entire Diocese, Fr. Serge presented His Grace with a new set of Paschal vestments sewn in Ukraine. He wished His Grace God’s aid in his further service to the Church, and asked his archpastoral prayers at God’s altar.

In response, Bishop Jerome shared some recollections of his years in obedience as Archbishop Nikon’s cell attendant and secretary, and also noted that, on the same day 40 years ago, his seminary classmate – the future Metropolitan Hilarion – was also ordained to the priesthood, by then-Bishop (later Metropolitan) Laurus of Syracuse & Holy Trinity, at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY.

Fr. Serge also offered kind words in bidding farewell to the recently ordained Fr. George Kaplanov, who on April 1 will begin his service as rector of Our Lady of Vladimir Church in Costa-Rica, and wished him God’s aid and the prayerful support of his brother-pastors.

In the church hall, the cathedral sisterhood prepared a festal lenten luncheon for the clergy and parishioners.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese