September 24, 2016
Washington, DC: Metropolitan Hilarion leads Patronal Feast Day of
St. John the Baptist Cathedral
the feast of the Beheading of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner, and
Baptist of the Lord John, St. John the Baptist Cathedral in
Washington, DC marked the 67th anniversary of its founding. On this
day, September 11, 1949, the Holy Hierarch John of Shanghai – then
visiting the U.S. capital in order to obtain assistance from the
American government for his flock on the Philippine island of
Tubabao – gathered a group of faithful children of the Church Abroad
in a private home and celebrated the new church community’s first
Divine Liturgy. It was St. John himself who named the parish in
honor of the prophet he so deeply loved and revered. After the
founding of the new church community, parishioners gathered in
various locations for Sunday and festal services. In 1958, they
obtained a piece of land in the center of Washington, at the
intersection of 17th Street and Shepherd Street – and parishioners
erected a small church and parish house. In 1977, a large-scale
reconstruction project began that would last several years and
result in the church receiving its current majestic façade, designed
in the 17th century Moscow-Yaroslavl’ architectural style.
This year, the feast day fell on a Sunday, and all of the appointed
divine services were led by the ruling bishop of the Eastern
American Diocese, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion.
Saturday, September 10, His Eminence led the All-Night Vigil,
co-served by His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah (former Primate of the
Orthodox Church in America), and parish clergy. Two well-rehearsed
choirs sang the Vigil: a Slavonic choir, under the direction of Y.A.
Petcherkin, and an English choir, under the direction of Paula
Genis. The beautiful singing of the two choirs is customary for
parishioners here, but worshippers from other cities took note of
the dynamic execution of the hymnography and the ease with which the
choirs alternated between Church Slavonic and English. Throughout
the Vigil, the parish priests heard confessions from all those who
desired to be cleansed of their sins in order to commune of Christ’s
The Divine Liturgy on September 11 saw several notable moments.
During the Little Entrance, church awards were bestowed upon several
cathedral clerics: the parish’s second priest, Fr. John Johnson, was
awarded the gold pectoral cross; Priest Damian Dantinne was given
the right to wear the purple skufia during the divine services;
Protodeacon Patrick Mitchell was awarded the kamilavka.
At the festal Liturgy, a multitude of worshippers were communed from
Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, dedicated his sermon to the
cathedral’s Heavenly patron, the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John.
The Metropolitan’s sermon was recorded and can be viewed
After the dismissal, the traditional moleben to St. John the Baptist
was served, followed by a procession around the cathedral. At the
procession’s second stop, Metropolitan Hilarion performed the
blessing of the neighboring parish house, which was obtained two
years ago. Significant remodeling was done to the house all
throughout 2016, including improvements to the grounds. As a result
of the remodeling, one might be given the impression that the house
and the church were built simultaneously long ago.
At the end of the prayerful feast, Metropolitan Hilarion thanked
those who were instrumental in organizing the event for their
prayers and hospitality.
parishioners and one friend of the parish were awarded diocesan
Parishioner Alexander V. Kariman received a gramota "for major
contributions to the preparation and realization of reworking the
parish’s Internet portal."
Ruslan Malakhov, who lives in Donetsk, Ukraine, and works in A.V.
Karimov’s company as a computer technician, received the award "for
his work in fully reworking the parish’s website, practically
recreating the site’s design and structure from scratch." Thanks to
Malakhov’s efforts, the cathedral’s site has become one of the best
in the Eastern American Diocese.
Parishioner James Seaman received the gramota for his work in
setting up a system of live video transmission of the divine
services at St. John the Baptist Cathedral over the Internet.
As always at such events, the parish sisterhood treated the festal
participants to a bountiful luncheon.
Having celebrated their parish’s patronal feast day, parishioners
can now begin to dedicate their time and efforts to preparing for
the two-day benevolent bazaar, which has become very popular in
Washington and will be held October 1-2. Following this, they will
organize the annual pilgrimage to Holy Trinity Monastery in
Jordanville, NY, to the grave of Brother Jose Muñoz-Cortes, guardian
of the myrrh-streaming "Montreal" Iveron Icon of the Mother of God,
who was murdered in 1997. This year, the pilgrimage will be held on
October 29-30, and is expected to take place under the aegis of the
myrrh-streaming "Hawaiian" Iveron Icon of the Mother of God.
Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese