DIOCESE OF EASTERN AMERICA AND NEW YORK: August 13, 2009
Pannikhida at the Grave of Serge Semenenko
On August 11, 2009, Archimandrite Joasaph (MacLellan), Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, in the presence of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, performed a pannikhida at the grave of Serge Yakovlevich Semenenko, located in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, MA. Fr Joasaph was joined by Priest Victor Boldewskul, Rector of Epiphany Church in Boston. This fulfilled the wishes of the late Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory, who had wished to locate his gravesite and perform a memorial service for him. In 1957, Mr Semenenko donated a building to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia which now houses the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, the Synod Chancery and the residence of the First Hierarch of ROCOR. Serge Semenenko departed to the Lord on April 24, 1980.
In a sermon following the pannikhida, Fr Joasaph noted that thanks to Sergei Yakovlevich, there was no need to repeat the “sin of Bethlehem,” when the people of that city refused shelter to the Mother of God during the Roman census, and She was forced to spend the night in a cave. The refugee from Russia, which was the Abode of the Mother of God, provided a home for Her in the form of Her icon, the Miracle-working Kursk-Root Icon. Within the walls of this building prayers were lifted up for the Homeland, the Synods and Councils of Bishops convened, the truth was boldly spoken from here about the horrors of the then-enslaved Russia, and the host of New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia were glorified. In addition to servant of God Serge, Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky), Metropolitan Laurus and Semenko’s relatives were also commemorated.