Home     News     Administration     Spiritual Court     Parishes     Documents     History     
Diocesan Library
     Youth Association     Music Commission     Links
     Volunteers in Mission

Русская Версия


August 16, 2011
South Canaan, PA: Bishop George of Mayfield participated in the patronal feast day of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery

On Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th of August, on the feast day of St. Tikhon, Wonderworker of Zadonsk (new style), the brethren of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk Monastery in South Canaan, PA, marked their patronal feast day.

St. Tikhon’s Monastery is the first Orthodox monastery in the United States. Thanks to the efforts of Hieromonk Arseny (Chagovtsev; future Archbishop of Winnipeg who was also the rector of St. John the Baptist Church in Mayfield), the idea to build a monastery in America quickly became a reality. Despite Fr. Arseny’s having only arrived in America in 1902, by 1905 the idea received the blessing of Archbishop Tikhon (future holy hierarch and Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia), who together with Fr. Arseny purchased land amidst the hills of northeastern Pennsylvania. The purchase was made possible through a donation from St. Tikhon who gave $1000. Fr. Arseny also donated $300, and four of his parishioners from Mayfield donated a total of $700. The first Divine Liturgy in and dedication of the monastery were performed by Bishop Raphael of Brooklyn (Hawaweeny; glorified in 2000). Besides the holy hierarchs Tikhon and Raphael, the life of the monastery also intertwined with the fates of three other holy God-pleasers: St. Nikolai (Velimirovich, author of the Prologue, the Serbian Lives of the Saints, and for some time rector of the monastery), St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre (Toth, whose reliquary is located inside the monastery’s cathedral), and Hieromartyr Alexander (Hotovitsky).

This year, the monastery’s patronal feast day was marked by the historic concelebration of OCA and ROCOR hierarchs. The last time a ROCOR bishop served in the OCA’s principal monastery was in 1943. With the blessing of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad and by the invitation of His Grace Tikhon, Bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, and Abbot Sergius (Bowyer; rector of the monastery), His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop George of Mayfield, took part in the monastery feast. Accompanied by Eastern American Diocesan secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov, Bishop George brought with him to the monastery the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God.

On Friday evening, prior to the Vigil, Bishop Tikhon greeted the Kursk Icon and triumphally brought the wonderworking image into the church, after which a moleben was served to the Most Holy Theotokos. During the All-Night Vigil, His Grace, Bishop Tikhon, was co-served by Bishop George, Fr. Sergius (Bowyer), Archpriest David Hritcko (rector of St. Basil’s Church in Simpson, PA), Archpriest John Kowalczyk (rector of St. Michael’s Church in Jermyn, PA), Fr. Serge Lukianov, and other OCA clergy. Also praying in church was Archpriest John Sorochka (dean of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA and dean of the Pennsylvania Deanery).

The following morning, the brethren and clergy, led by Bishop Tikhon, greeted the wonderworking icon and then Bishop George. At the Liturgy, Their Graces were co-served by the above-mentioned clergy. A multitude of the faithful communed from three chalices.

In his sermon, Bishop George noted the historic significance of the concelebration of the OCA and ROCOR hierarchs, the first since 1943. His Grace underscored the importance of repentance and forgiveness as the key to unity among the various canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in America. His Grace said in part:

"Many times we justify ourselves; even when we ask forgiveness, we still justify ourselves and blame the other person, considering ourselves the better person for asking forgiveness. If we want to make peace, we have to sincerely attribute all of our problems to ourselves and to our own sins. If we were better Christians, if we were more loving to our neighbors, this would never have happened, and we would not be at odds with our neighbors. As the Kursk Icon travels throughout the United States, we see people from many different jurisdictions, who may never have met or who may have different opinions on issues of the faith or of each other, now coming together through the Mother of God, pursuing true unity amongst the Orthodox Churches of America. Let us strive to continue this effort to make peace with one another, doing everything we can. Let us remember that if we do not forgive our brethren, God will not forgive us. Let us try to do this, so that we may have peace in our souls, not only in this life, but in the life to come."

At the end of the Liturgy, Bishop Tikhon greeted Bishop George with the momentous and historic occasion ‒ the concelebration on the patronal feast day of St. Tikhon’s Monastery. Bishop Tikhon expressed his sincere gratitude to the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, or the opportunity to pray before the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God in St. Tikhon’s Monastery. His Grace noted, in part:

"In addition to the patronal feast of the monastery, today is an historic day: we have a hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad in St. Tikhon’s Monastery celebrating the Liturgy for the first time in almost seventy years. It is a great joy and a great blessing; it is only though forgiveness of each other that we come to unity. Glory be to God, we have been able to concelebrate the Liturgy today as a sign and expression of our unity, borne out of repentance, mutual love, and respect for one another. We pray that the Lord, His Holy Mother, and St. Tikhon of Zadonsk continue to bless us with their continual aid in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this country for many years."

After the hierarchs’ greetings, the Polychronion was intoned to His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, and Their Graces, Bishop Tikhon and Bishop George.

A festal luncheon was then offered in the monastery refectory, during various which congratulatory speeches and greetings were made. After the luncheon, Bishop George departed for Mayfield to lead the divine services in St. John the Baptist Cathedral.

Republication of materials must include a reference to: 
"Eastern American Diocese www.eadiocese.org."

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese