May 12, 2016
Howell, NJ: Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrates Patronal Feast of St. George’s Church

On Bright Thursday the 5th and Friday the 6th of May, the feast of the Holy Great-Martyr and Trophy-Bearer George, the faithful celebrated the patronal feast day of St. George’s Cossack Church in Howell, NJ. St. George’s feast day always takes place during the Paschal period, but this year, the holiday was especially joyous, as it took place during Bright Week itself.

On Thursday evening, parish rector Archpriest Serge Lukianov led the Paschal Vespers & Matins. The reading of the canon to the Holy Great-Martyr mingled with the choir’s singing of the Paschal Canon.

The following morning, prior to the start of Divine Liturgy, Priest Seraphim Chemodakov (cleric of neighboring St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral) performed the blessing of the water. Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan then arrived and – for the first time as bishop – celebrated Liturgy in St. George’s Church. His Grace was co-served by Fr. Serge, Archpriest Rafael Melendez (Albanian Orthodox Church) and Petro Kunitsky (cleric of Holy New Martyrs of Russia Church in Brooklyn, NY), and clerics of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral: Archpriest Boris Slootsky, Fr. Seraphim, and Protodeacons Leonid Roschko and Paul Drozdowski.

Upon completion of the service, Bishop Nicholas addressed the faithful with a sermon, in which he said, in part: "This Sunday, Bright Week will come to an end. And we can calmly look back at this week, at all of Lent, and in general at our spiritual life. And we must ask ourselves: how have I behaved? How have I lived? How has this all influenced my spiritual life? Have I loved the Lord God with all my heart, as this martyr of Christ loved Him, and as all of the saints loved Him? Today, this is a good lesson and reminder for us, how we must, with all our heart and soul, fully trust in God, believe in Him, and love Him. And this martyr gives us his wonderful, magnificent example, for which we magnify him. Let us continue to abide beneath the protection of this great-martyr, let us constantly consider his example, always asking ourselves: have I loved the Lord God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my thoughts? May the Lord God help us continue to be worthy Christians, not in name only, but in our life. Amen."

Bishop Nicholas congratulated everyone with the feast and thanked the clergy, choir, and worshippers for their shared prayer.

After the service, a bountiful luncheon was served in the Cossack hall.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese