St Seraphim Church Frescoes Dedicated To the Reestablishment of Unity Within the Russian Orthodox Church

In connection with the approaching third anniversary of the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Editors of the official website of ROCOR draw its readers’  attention to the frescoes of St Seraphim Church in Sea Cliff, NY, which are dedicated to the 1000-year history of the Russian Orthodox Church and the reestablishment of Divinely-mandated unity. Below is an appeal from the Rector of St Seraphim Church:


Dear Beloved in the Lord Brothers and Sisters!

On May 17th, 2007, the feast day of the Ascension of the Lord, the historical Act of Canonical Communion between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate was signed in Moscow by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, of blessed memories. 

With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, we have begun a unique iconography project to adorn the walls of St Seraphim's Church in Sea Cliff, NY. With this, we hope our church becomes a worthy commemorative monument dedicated to the millennial path of the Russian Orthodox Church, from the Baptism of Russia to the signing of the Act of Canonical Communion, reuniting the two parts of the Russian Church. 

Our parish was a favorite place of worship and serving divine services by blessed Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky, +1965) and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, of blessed memories. Saint John (Maximovich) of Shanghai, whose relic is kept in our church, had also served numerous Divine Liturgies. Archbishop Averky (Taushev), in the autumn of 1953, along with then-Hierodeacon Laurus, blessed the foundation of our church, and then later performed the Great Consecration (with then-Hieromonk Laurus participating). He was referred to as the “godparent” of the Russian church in Sea Cliff. For many years Fr Mitrofan Znosko-Borovsky (+ 2002) resided here as parish rector, who later became Bishop of Boston.

On August 1, 2009, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion blessed the newly-completed fresco before the altar. We are now beginning to adorn the walls of the altar which will depict:

Saint Seraphim of Sarov – our patron saint;

Saint Mitrofan, Bishop of Voronezh – in memory of our long time Rector, Bishop Mitrofan of Boston, who always supported the idea of reconciliation;

Saint Alexei, Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia – in memory of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II;

Saint John, Bishop of Shanghai and San Francisco, whose holiness had touched not only North America, but also three centers of Russian emigration: Belgrade, Shanghai-Harbin and Paris, and whose sober views helped many of those who doubted the benefits of the act of reconciliatory unity, to reexamine their personal view points towards the Moscow Patriarchate and other Orthodox Churches;

Saint Anthony the Roman –  in memory of Blessed Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky, +1936) and Archbishop Anthony (Medvedev, +2000) of Western America and San Francisco;

Holy Martyr Laurus – in memory of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus;

Holy Martyr Athanasii – Abbott of Brest, a most venerated saint of our parish;

Saint Onufrii the Great – on whose day of memory Bishop Mitrofan was ordained a priest.

The Mother of God of the Sign will be depicted in the altar apse as the Protectress of Russians abroad. Upon the altar ceiling above the iconostasis the Ascension of Our Lord will be depicted, as on this feast day the Act of Canonical Reconciliation was signed. In the main part of the church – from the main entrance to the cupola – there will be a depiction of the Millennium of Russian Orthodoxy: from the Baptism of Russia up to and ending with the signing of the Act of Reconciliation in Moscow.

Also featured will be: Saint Apostle Andrew (in memory of Andrew Guevorgian, killed in the Lockerbie terrorist bombing of PanAm Flight 107), Equal-to-the-Apostles Vladimir and Olga, the Holy Kiev and Moscow saints, the saints of the Synodal period, his Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, and the saints of Russian Orthodoxy Abroad. 

All of these saints will be depicted in a historical context, featuring churches and holy sites in Russia and Abroad.

It is towards the continued success of the above project that I call upon all of you whose hearts and souls burn with love and fervor toward the Russian Orthodox Church, toward the glorious pages of its history, toward the many burdens of its peoples, toward her culture, to answer the call of this worthy project by donating funds. The approximate cost of a square foot of fresco in the church is $150 US. The names of all the donating participants along with their living and deceased relatives will be entered into a special commemorative book. All donors will be kept regularly updated as work progresses.

May this fresco be an everlasting witness to our Orthodoxy and Russian culture, so that both would grow inseparably within our future generations abroad. May this church become a place of prayerful commemoration of all those who kept and multiplied the spiritual treasures and sacred Russian Orthodox ideals, while living through difficult times abroad. 

With Love in the Lord, asking for your prayers,

Archpriest Serafim Gan,
Parish Rector, Chancellor of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Secretary of the First Hierarch.

November 18, 2009



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