July 28, 2013
Jackson, NJ: The All-Diocesan St. Vladimir’s Day Celebrations were
held at St. Vladimir Memorial Church
Sunday, July 28, the All-Diocesan St. Vladimir’s Day Celebrations
were held at St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ. The
celebrations were organized by the Eastern American Diocese of the
Russian Church Abroad, and dedicated to the 1025th anniversary of
the Baptism of Rus’ and the 75th anniversary of the church’s
founding. Clergy who came to the celebrations from America, Canada,
Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus greeted His Eminence Hilarion,
Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the
Russian Church Abroad. The archpastors, clergy, and multitudinous
pilgrims piously greeted three wonderworking icons of the Mother of
God that have graced the celebrations with their presence: the Kursk
Root Icon, the myrrh-streaming Hawaiian Icon, and the Pochaev Icon.
Following the greeting, the clergy and faithful, flanked by Cossack
representatives and young scouts from NORR (Association of Russian
Explorers) and SGPA (St. George’s Pathfinders of America) camps,
processed to the Memorial Church, where Metropolitan Hilarion
celebrated the Divine Liturgy. The First Hierarch was co-served by
Their Eminences, Archbishops Justinian of Naro-Fominsk
(Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA) and Gabriel
of Montreal & Canada; Their Graces, Bishops Meletiy of Khotin (vicar
of the Diocese of Chernovtsy & Bukovina of the Ukrainian Orthodox
Church), George of Mayfield (vicar of the Eastern American Diocese),
Irénée of Quebec City (auxiliary of the Canadian Archdiocese OCA),
and Jerome (Shaw; retired); and
diocesan and visiting clerics.
the Little Entrance, Memorial Church cleric Deacon Paul Drozdowski
was awarded the double orarion, while after the Great Entrance,
Hierodeacon Tikhon (Gayfudinov; cleric of the Synodal Cathedral of
the Sign) was ordained to the priesthood as a hieromonk.
The Liturgy was celebrated in Church Slavonic and English, and the
accompanying singing by the choir likewise proceeded in both
languages. The choir of St. Vladimir Memorial Church sang
prayerfully at the Liturgy under the direction of Deacon Alexander
Petrovsky. Many singers came from afar in order to honor the memory
of the Enlightener of Rus’, which gave the celebrations an
especially universal feel.
At the entrance to the church, the wonderworking icons were
presented for veneration by the faithful. The guardian of the Kursk
Root Icon, Priest Nicholas Olhovsky, blessed the faithful with small
copies of the icons, blessed on the miraculous images. Many of the
faithful confessed their sins at this very spot, that they might
partake of Christ’s Holy Mysteries on this triumphal day.
Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov, the senior-most clergyman in the
Eastern American Diocese, addressed the faithful with inspirational
parting words prior to Holy Communion.
Upon completion of the Divine Liturgy, the clergy and pilgrims went
in procession around the territory of the Memorial Church. At its
head the clergy processed with the wonderworking icons. Despite a
threatening drizzle, the faithful continued to join in the
procession along its entire route. Flanked by his brother bishops,
Metropolitan Hilarion then performed the blessing of the water. In
honor of the 75th anniversary of the Memorial Church’s founding, the
scouts simultaneously released 75 doves.
The First Hierarch likewise blessed a new monument, installed in
honor of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ and the 75th
anniversary of the Memorial Church’s founding. The memorial plaque
is dedicated to the memory of three luminary hierarchs of the
Russian Church Abroad, builders and adorners of the church:
Metropolitan Laurus (Skurla), and Archbishops Vitaly (Maximenko) and
First Hierarch greeted his brother archpastors, thanking them for
the opportunity to share with them the joy of the feast. The
Metropolitan then awarded a diocesan Gramota to Priest Serge and
Mat. Tamara Ledkovsky for their manifest labors on behalf of the
church community; and, in honor of its 75th anniversary, a Gramota
was presented to the whole St. Vladimir Memorial Church community.
Upon completion of the Liturgy, the hierarchs, clergy, and guests
were invited to a festal banquet. On the occasion of the St.
Vladimir’s Day celebrations, the following dignitaries came and
delivered congratulatory addresses to the clergy and faithful, who
gathered not only from the many diocesan parishes, but even from
every corner of the nation and from abroad:
- His Excellency Vuk Jeremić, 67th President of the
United Nations General Assembly;
- His Excellency Vitaly Churkin,
Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN;
The Deputy Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN;
Deputy Permanent Representative of Belarus to the UN; and
Excellency Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the Delegation of the
European Union to the UN.
The clergy and people of God sat for several hours of interaction
under the aegis of the Russian Diaspora’s holy icons, joyfully
reviving the bright traditions of the St. Vladimir’s Day
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