DIOCESE OF EASTERN AMERICA & NEW YORK: 7 August 2007
The Newly-Consecrated Bishop John of Caracas, Administrator of the Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in South America, Presides over the Parish Feast Day at St. Seraphim's Church, in Sea Cliff. NY
On the feast day of St. Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov, amid a large crowd of parishioners and visitors, His Grace, Bishop John of Caracas, Administrator of the Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russian in South America, presided over the Divine Liturgy at St. Seraphim's Church, in Sea Cliff, New York, concelebrating with clergy of the Diocese of Eastern America and other dioceses of the Russian Church Abroad, and of the Moscow Patriarchate; and on the eve of the feast, he celebrated the vigil service and the congregational chanting of the Akathist Hymn to St. Seraphim, Wonderworker of Sarov. During the communion of the clergy, Protopriest George Kallaur delivered the sermon, and after the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy and the service of supplication with a procession around the church, His Grace, Bishop John, addressed words of greeting and edification to those present. At the festal meal, set forth through the efforts of A. N. Ryl, and the parish sisterhood, Protopriest Seraphim Gan, the parish rector, welcomed Bishop John, and then, turning to the parishioners and visitors, said the following: "Today there springs unbidden to mind the words which, as I have noted, are inscribed on the outside of the western wall in certain churches in Russia: 'Let thine eyes be open upon this temple day and night.' Interpreting these words as applying to ourselves, we must always keep the temple of God before our eyes, when we experience sorrow and grief, as well as when we have joy. If joy, then we must thank God for the joy we have received. And if you and I experience grief, misfortune and temptation, we must ask God to allay our grief, our sorrow and misfortune, and for help in overcoming temptations. Then will it become clear to us that our Christian eyes must be open upon the church day and night. I offer you these thoughts, my dear ones, today on our parish feast, so that, having been sweetened by the Church's prayer in the temple of God and found consolation in those remarkable words I have reminded you of, you may store them up in your hearts. Then they may help us attain spiritual perfection." The feast was greatly uplifting, and many people attended, despite the fact that it fell on a weekday. The most impressive moments of the divine services were the choir's singing, under the direction of T. M. Zhukova, of Muzychesky's "Cherubic Hymn", Sokolov's "A Mercy of Peace", and Bortyansky's "Let God Arise" (during the communion of the clergy).
On 2 August, Bishop John departed for Erie, and for the reception of official personages and other guests the rector and warden opened the new meeting hall, which has been constructed in one of the buildings on the parish property. The new hall had been consecrated before the opening of the regular session of the parish council.
On 3 August, the rector of St. Seraphim's Church concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with the Dean of the Bavaria-Hesse Circuit of the Moscow Patriarchate's Diocese of Berlin & Germany, Protopriest Peter Stepanov, together with Protodeacons Paul Volkov and Vadim Gan, and Deacons Nicholas Ol'khovsky and Eugene Kallaur. Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the protopriests exchanged words of greeting. After the banquet, Protopriest Peter Stepanov told the parishioners about himself, his family, the course of his life, and his ministry in the Holy Church, both in Russia and in Germany, where he is now the rector of the Church of St. Xenia the Blessed, in Nuremburg.