May 13, 2016
Sea Cliff, NY: Metropolitan Hilarion blesses Frescoes in St. Seraphim Memorial Church

On Bright Saturday, May 7, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York paid an archpastoral visit to St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY.

His Eminence celebrated the Divine Liturgy, co-served by Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan (vicar of the Eastern American Diocese), parish rector Archpriest Serafim Gan, Archpriests Serge Lukianov (diocesan secretary), Andrei Sommer (senior priest of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City), Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of Long Island & the Hudson Valley), Alexis Duncan (rector of Nativity of the Mother of God Church in Albany, NY), and Vasiliy Raskovskiy (Synodal cleric), Hieromonk Photius (Oulanov; cleric of Holy Virgin Intercession Church in Glen Cove, NY), Protodeacons Vadim Gan (Synodal cleric), Paul Wolkow and Eugene Kallaur (parish clerics), and Dionysius Lvov (Synodal cleric), and Deacon Vladimir Barros (cleric of Holy Virgin Intercession Church).

During the Little Entrance, Metropolitan Hilarion blessed the frescoes on the church’s ceiling, the final installments of that section of the church’s iconography dedicated to the historical signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia and Abroad in 2007.

In 2012, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad selected St. Seraphim of Sarov Church to be the Memorial Church to the Re-Establishment of Unity in the Russian Church. With Metropolitan Hilarion’s blessing, Priest Paul Akmolin (cleric of the Mid-American Diocese) began work on the church’s frescoes. Depicted on the altar’s apse is the icon of the Mother of God "of the Sign," Protectress of the Russian Diaspora; on the ceiling above the iconostasis – the Ascension of the Lord. Depicted in the middle of the nave, from the narthex to the central cupola, is the entire millennial path of the Russian Orthodox Church, from the Baptism of Rus’ in 988 A.D. to the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion in Moscow. Depicted on the walls on either side of the altar are saints especially venerated in the parish: the Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, Anthony the Roman, and Onuphrius the Great, the Venerable-Martyr Athanasius, the Martyr Laurus, and the Holy Hierarchs Alexius of Moscow, Metrophanes of Voronezh, and John of Shanghai & San Francisco.

Singing the Liturgy was the youth choir of Prince Vladimir Association, under the direction of Adrian Fekula.

Upon completion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion greeted the youth choir, and also congratulated Protodeacon Paul Wolkow on the 25th anniversary of his diaconal ordination, wishing him firm health to continue his service to the Church for many years. In honor of 25 years of dedicated service to the Holy Church, His Eminence presented Fr. Paul with the Russian Orthodox Church’s Order of St. Innocent of Moscow, 3rd Class.

Addressing the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful, Fr. Serafim Gan relayed that, this coming summer, the iconographer will deliver the canvas icons depicting the saints to be placed in the church’s narthex. Fr. Serafim noted that the fruits of the unification of the Russian Church are visible to us today, including in the realm of youth ministry, and wished the choir members soon to depart for Ukraine a fruitful and blessed pilgrimage, and mutually enriching interaction with their young compatriots.

The parish sisterhood organized a festal luncheon for the clergy and parishioners, during which Fr. Serafim presented Fr. Andrei Sommer (head of Prince Vladimir Youth Association and vice president of the Synodal Youth Department) a check for $1,500, collected by the parish sisterhood to cover the expenses of the youth choir’s coming trip. An additional amount was gathered as a donation to the children of the orphanage in the village of Bancheny, Bukovina. The collection for this orphanage was conducted during Great Lent in the parishes of the Diocese. All told, over $7,000 was collected, reported Fr. Andrei, who thanked the parish sisterhood for their support of the youth choir and their contribution to the larger donation to the children of Ukraine.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese