NEW YORK: 17 February 2023
On his namesday, Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York celebrates Divine Liturgy
On Thursday, 16 February, 2023, the feast day of St Nicholas, Archbishop of Japan, Equal-to-the-Apostles, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York celebrated Divine Liturgy, having performed all-night vigil the evening before at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady “of the Sign” in New York. The First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was joined by His Eminence Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Canada; His Grace Bishop John of Caracas and South America and His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, First Vicar of the Western American Diocese. Also serving were representatives of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA of the Moscow Patriarchate and of the Serbian Orthodox Church as the choir sang joyfully under the direction of Vadim Gan.
Abbot Arseny (Manko) brought a special gift from the Papal Basilica of St Nicholas in the city of Bari, Italy, and its Rector, Reverendissimo Padre Giovanni Distante, Rettore della Pontificia Basilica di San Nicola: holy myrrh (la manna di S. Nicola) from the relics of St Nicholas the Miracle-worker, along with an official certificate of authenticity. Noteworthy is that a similar holy gift was presented to Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky), one of Metropolitan Nicholas’ predecessors as Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. His Eminence received the gift with special piety, expressing his heartfelt gratitude and instructions to return the favor with a gift.
After a moleben before the icons of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple and his heavenly patron, His Eminence delivered a sermon, calling upon everyone to be fervent missionaries of their faith, emulating St Nicholas of Japan. Metropolitan Nicholas issued an appeal for prayers for the persecuted flock of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church headed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Onouphry, as well as for those who suffered from the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey, and to help the victims through the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Archbishop Gabriel then spoke warm words of congratulations on behalf of the members of the Synod of Bishops, wishing him God’s abundant aid in his difficult burden of providing spiritual nourishment to his flock. He noted that if a priest bears the cross of his parish, a bishop of his diocese, while the First Hierarch bears the cross of tending to the eternal salvation of his entire Church.
During the festive luncheon that followed, hosted by the cathedral’s sisterhood, congratulations were offered by Bishop John; Bishop Theodosius; Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Dean of the Cathedral; Archpriest Igor Vyzhanov, Chancellor of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, and Archpriest Zivojin Jakovljevic, Rector of the Patriarchal Cathedral of St Savva of the Serbian Orthodox Church in New York, as did other clergy, the cathedral’s warden, parishioners and worshipers.