EASTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE: March 2, 2018
Clergymen from all canonical Orthodox jurisdictions celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy at a Miami cathedral
A tradition has gradually been established in south Florida in which clergymen of all canonical Orthodox Christian jurisdictions gather for a common service in one of the churches. For the first time in 2018, a Russian church was chosen.
The parish of St Matrona of Moscow in Miami organized the festive celebration of the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, on February 25, after the first week of Great Lent.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Miami and the Southeast (Antiochian Orthodox Church), officiated. He was joined in the service by Archimandrite Alexander (Belya), Dean of Florida (ROCOR), and clerics of the Russian Church Abroad, the Constantinople Patriarchate, Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America, about 30 from all canonical jurisdictions located in south Florida.
The Sunday of Orthodoxy has its roots in a 787 A.D. decision of an Ecumenical Council which confirmed the practice of venerating icons after a long period of iconoclasm. The feast day originated in the year 843 to mark the final victory over that heresy. The Church thereby concluded the period of formation of the Orthodox teaching of Christ, and the icon was recognized as the last visual witness to the reality of the Incarnation. The first Sunday of Great Lent was chosen for this celebration, since the very first such Rite of the Triumph of Orthodoxy was celebrated on that day.
After vespers, the Rite of Orthodoxy was performed, followed by a procession of the cross with icons.
The church choir sang wonderfully under its director Vasilisa —usually services are sung in Church Slavonic, on this day many prayers were sung in English and Greek as well. Alexei Lukianov read prayers in English.
Fr Alexander read a greeting from Metropolitan Hilarion, noting that the Russian and Antiochian Churches in America are connected through the life of the first Orthodox bishop consecrated on American soil (by the future Holy Patriarch Tikhon of Russia), St Raphael of Brooklyn. Fr Alexander noted that there is an icon of St Raphael in the Miami cathedral, which draws worshipers from among Arabs and Slavs, as well as Christians of other nationalities.
Bishop Nicholas then spoke about the establishment of this holiday and thanked the Rector, clergymen and parishioners of St Matrona of Moscow Church for their hospitality, extending his gratitude to Metropolitan Hilarion for his blessing to celebrate the holiday there.
A luncheon was offered afterwards, hosted by the store Matreshka and other volunteers.