October 22, 2016
Atlanta, GA: Pastoral Conference for Eastern American Diocesan Clergy concludes with Divine Liturgy

On Thursday, October 20, the autumnal pastoral conference for clergy and matushkas of the Eastern American Diocese at St. Mary of Egypt Church in Atlanta, GA concluded with the serving of the Divine Liturgy. The retreat, as well as the hierarchal divine service, took place under the aegis of two icons of the Most Holy Theotokos: the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon, and the myrrh-streaming icon "Softener of Evil Hearts."

In the morning, the clergy gathered in the church, first to greet the wonderworking icons, and then Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, who led the conference. His Eminence was co-served by Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen; former primate of the Orthodox Church in America), Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan (vicar bishop of the Eastern American Diocese), and forty diocesan and visiting clerics.

Prior to the start of Liturgy, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad tonsured Michael McKenney a reader (for St. Xenia Church in Huntsville, AL), and ordained to the subdiaconate parish Readers Daniel Iliev and Mikhail Beliakov. At the Little Entrance, Metropolitan Hilarion awarded parish rector Archpriest John Townsend the right to wear the second pectoral cross for his longtime pastoral service, and also awarded Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY) the right to wear the double orarion. After the Eucharistic Canon, His Eminence ordained Subdeacon Daniel Iliev to the diaconate. The newly ordained Deacon Daniel will fulfill his service at St. Mary of Egypt Church.

Addressing the faithful with a sermon on the life and labors of the Holy Hierarch Jonah of Hankou (whose glorification by the Russian Church Abroad was performed on October 20, 2016) was Priest Job Watts (rector of St. Nektarios Church in Lenoir City, TN).

On the eve of and during the service, the faithful confessed their sins, and upon completion of the Liturgy, conference participants, parishioners, and guests communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.

Addressing the hierarchs, clergy, and guests, Metropolitan Hilarion noted that, "We are very much inspired by the talks and fellowship that took place, and we will take this inspiration home with us as we continue in our service as pastors and ministers of the Holy Church." His Eminence thanked all of the concelebrating clergy, conference participants, parish organizers and volunteers – foremost of all Fr. John – and all of the worshippers for their labors and shared prayer. In gratitude, icons of St. Jonah of Hankou with commemorative inscriptions were bestowed upon Archpriest Nikolai Artemoff (secretary of the Diocese of Berlin & Germany) for his talks, and Hieromonk Alexander (Lisnichuk) for his work in organizing the conference. The Protodeacon then intoned the Polychronion for the namesday celebrants, new clerics, and award recipients.

Concluding the pastoral conference, all departed the church and proceeded outdoors for a farewell luncheon.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese