NEW YORK: January 31, 2018
St John the Baptist Cathedral marks the 70th birthday of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York
On Sunday, January 28, 2018, the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, visited St John the Baptist Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY.
Archpriest Alexander Belya, Senior Priest of the cathedral, greeted His Eminence at the entrance to the temple:
The Nativity of Christ, the New Year and Epiphany have passed, and are ending with the Apodosis of St John, our church’s feast day. By tradition we invite you, our dear Vladyka, to this celebration, but this year you could not attend, since you were in Australia. Today we are happy to welcome Your Eminence, and it is a special joy, for this is your first Liturgy upon returning to New York. We hope for words of wisdom from you, your primatial prayers and blessings for us all, your spiritual children.
All forms of service to others on earth are beautiful, but the highest service is service to god. By the Lord’s Hand, you were placed upon the lofty service of First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which you have borne for many years to the benefit of the Mother Church and the people of God. We congratulate you on your 70th birthday and wish you good health in order to continue for many years more to lead our Church, to bring people to God, salvation and eternal life. Many years to you, our dear Vladyka!
Metropolitan Hilarion then celebrated Divine Liturgy, joined by His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Vicar of the Eastern American Dicoese, Fr Alexander, Dean of the First Deanery, and the cathedral and visiting clergy. Alexander Falkovich directed the wonderful singing by the cathedral choir.
At the end of Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas read a greeting from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America, and on his behalf gave Vladyka Hilarion a medal of St Raphael of Brooklyn, 1st Degree.
On behalf of the bishops, clergymen and faithful of our Antiochian Orthodox Church of North America, we express our heartfelt greetings on your 70th birthday. We grant you the Order of St Raphael of Brooklyn, 1st Degree, in honor of your birthday. Our two churches have a common history in America, founded on the missionary efforts of St Tikhon of Moscow and St Raphael of Brooklyn. May these two recent saints, who laid the foundation of our presence here, continue to inspire you to fulfill the work that pleases Christ and His Holy Church in your capacity as First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Metropolitan Hilarion then distributed awards to the clergy, benefactors and guests of the Brooklyn parish. A bouquet of flowers was then given to Vladyka Metropolitan, who thanked all those present and invoked Divine blessings on everyone.