March 6, 2013 Howell, NJ: Metropolitan
Hilarion led the celebrations in honor of Protopresbyter Valery
Lukianov’s 50th Anniversary of Clerical Service
Sunday, March 3, parishioners of
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ, celebrated the
50th anniversary of rector Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov’s
ordination. Fr. Valery is the senior-most cleric of the Eastern
American Diocese, and was ordained to the diaconate on February 21,
1963 by St. John of Shanghai & San Francisco.
The Divine Liturgy was led by the First
Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His
Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York,
co-served by Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada, Eastern
American Diocesan vicar Bishop George of Mayfield, and a
of local clergy from neighboring parishes.
After the Eucharistic Canon, Subdeacon
Michael Lillie was ordained to the diaconate. The newly ordained
Deacon Michael, currently a seminarian at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox
Theological Seminary, will fulfill his service at St. John the
Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, in
accordance with a resolution of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops, Fr.
Valery was awarded the Order of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of
God, 1st Class. Matushka Irene Lukianov was awarded a Diocesan
Gramota, which stated:
Celebrating 50 years of Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov’s pastoral
service, we would be remiss in omitting the name of the long and
faithful service to the Holy Orthodox Church of his matushka in the
parish of the Holy Right-Believing Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky in
Howell, New Jersey. Over the course of 50 years, you have helped
your spouse carry his weighty pastoral cross in your capacity as
wife and mother.
You have dedicated your life to working with the parishioners
entrusted by the Lord to Fr. Valery. You supported him in difficult
and joyous moments alike, at all times putting your hope in God and
His Most Pure Mother.
Having actively participated in the parish choir and sisterhood, for
years you labored tirelessly and often unnoticed, in the fear of God
and to the glory of His Holy Name. Raising five children, you
continued sharing your love with your parish family, which knows you
at a kind and gentle mother. May the Lord reward you with blessed
success in this temporal life, and grant you eternal salvation in
the life to come.
Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated Fr.
Valery and Matushka Irene and thanked them for their many years of
dedicated service to the Holy Church. A celebratory banquet was held
in the parish hall, during which many congratulatory greetings were
heard. A slideshow of over 200 photographs from Fr. Valery’s
pastoral career was presented, followed by a keynote address by
diocesan secretary and son of Fr. Valery Archpriest Serge Lukianov,
who said the following:
seeing so many wonderful photographs of the 50-year path of Fr.
Valery and Matushka Irene, I think that the time has come to ask
ourselves a question – why are we here? Why have we gathered
together from all corners of the world in this little town of Howell
NJ? Did we come here just to tip our hats and glasses to the
honorees? No. We came here today because of one word –
It’s so simple and yet so incredibly complicated. Picture all of
your fondest memories of Fr. Valery and Matushka. What is the common
factor in all of them? Love! The Church of Christ and our whole
built on love. In the words
of St. Paul – "Owe
no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another
has fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8). This example of genuine
Christian piety and humility they received from their God-fearing
parents – Archpriest Peter and Matushka Raisa Mocharsky and Semeon
Mikhailovich and Zoya Stepnovna Lukianov…
Fr. Valery lived in a
time when spiritual giants walked freely among us in America. While
he did receive the grace of the Holy Spirit through the hands of St.
John, he received his spiritual armor in the form of his proximity
to such holy men as Metropolitan Philaret, Archbishop Nikon,
Archbishop Averky, Fr. Seraphim Rose, Fr. Constantine (Zaitsev),
Archpriest Peter Mocharsky, and many more. He wrote his own books,
but he also compiled books of the writings of these great
luminaries, so that the founding principles of ROCOR might be
preserved and passed on to us and to our children’s children.
As we look back on
this grace-filled 50-year path, and seeing the monumental events
taking place in our own time, we ask ourselves, "What now?" I think
the best gift, the best sign of appreciation we can give to Fr.
Valery and Matushka Irene would be to wholeheartedly embrace and
understand the true beauty and splendor of a life in Christ,
centered around the Holy Church. This is the life that they live
and, despite all of the sorrows, misfortunes, and temptations that
they had to endure, the Lord has been merciful to them.
As the years go by, we
grow wiser and we begin to understand that what we have in people
like Fr. Valery and Matushka is a bridge to a glorious past. And as
that bridge gets shorter with every day, we start to finally see
what is really important. We know that, without love, we cannot
achieve eternal salvation, but without the Church to direct our
life, we cannot possibly begin to comprehend the true meaning of
The banquet concluded with a speech from Fr. Valery, in which he
thanked all of his spiritual teachers and the faithful that have
helped him along his 50-year path of service to the Church. Fr.
The path of priestly
service is that of seeing to the spiritual nourishment of hundreds,
even thousands of human souls, with one goal in mind – their
salvation for eternity. What methods might one implement to achieve
their salvation? How might one reconcile man to God? How might one
lift the spirits of the grieving, the ailing, and the despairing?
To find an answer, we
turn to the Holy Apostle Paul, who in his testament to the
Thessalonian flock wrote:
rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything
give thanks unto God.
Over the past fifty
years, our shared path to paradise, to the Kingdom of Heaven, was
always in keeping with this testament. We had need to rejoice with
those who rejoiced, and weep with those who wept. And this would all
melt away in our common prayer. This path wove its way through fifty
prostrations before the Cross, to fifty luminous, joyous,
all-enlightening Paschal feasts…
I thank the Lord that
He gave me a faithful life companion in my Matushka Irina, a true
friend, and a loving, king, caring, hardworking and self-sacrificing
wife and mother, who dedicated her whole life to God, to her family,
and to others…
It is my obligation to
prayerfully remember my spiritual elders and teachers: St. John,
Metropolitan Philaret, Archbishop Averky, Archimandrite Konstantin,
and other Spirit-bearing luminaries, who led me through seminary and
generally along all of life’s paths. There is no doubt that the
result of their aspirations for me were my published spiritual
labors: writings on the Church, on the saints, on pastorship, on a
life in God, and on the youth…
It is my lot now, my
pleasant duty, on behalf of Matushka Irina and myself, to personally
express our deepest gratitude to our Archpastors, who saw fit to
honor our family’s feast today, as well as all of my
As I draw to a close,
I can fairly bear witness and say that I would not be here today,
were it not for the actions of loving spiritual father, the
clairvoyant St. John. Now, having joined the choirs of the saints,
he lifts up his prayers to the Almighty for all of us who honor his
memory and rejoice in his intercession and miraculous gifts.
Thank God for
The editors of the official website of the
Eastern American Diocese congratulate Fr. Valery and Matushka Irene
on this monumental milestone – their 50th anniversary of service to
Republication of materials must include a reference to:
"Eastern American Diocesewww.eadiocese.org."