On Friday, March 17, the Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts" arrived at St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY, where – in accordance with local tradition – a joint Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts was served, in which the clergy, choir, and parishioners of Holy Virgin Intercession Church in Glen Cove, NY took part.
Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, vicar of the Eastern American Diocese, celebrated the Liturgy. His Grace was co-served by Archpriest Serafim Gan (parish rector), Archpriest Alexandre Antchutine (rector of Holy Intercession Church), Abbot Photius (Oulanov; cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), Priest Dimitri Jakimowicz (cleric of the Western American Diocese), Protodeacon Eugene Kallaur (parish cleric), and Deacon Vladimir Barros (cleric of Holy Intercession Church).
Singing the divine service was a combined choir, led by conductor Peter Fekula. Many parishioners confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
After Communion, the clergy proceeded to the center of the church, and served a short moleben before the myrrh-streaming Icon.
Upon completion of the Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas thanked the Icon’s guardian, Sergey Fomin, for taking the opportunity to visit the U.S. during Great Lent and offer spiritual support to the faithful; he also congratulated the rector and parishioners with the upcoming Lenten Sunday of the Cross, and wished everyone strength and fortitude in continuing their lenten struggle. Bishop Nicholas anointed all of the faithful who approached the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos with holy myrrh.
The sisterhood organized a luncheon, during which the warm interaction between clergy and parishioners continued.
On Saturday morning, March 18, prior to the start of the Liturgy for the Departed, the holy Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts" arrived at the neighboring Holy Virgin Intercession Church. Bishop Nicholas led the service, co-served by parish rector Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine and the concelebrate clergy from the before: Fr. Serafim Gan, Fr. Photius (Oulanov), Fr. Eugene Kallaur, and parish Deacons Vladimir Barros and Serguei Mikhailov. The combined male choir sang under the direction of Peter Fekula.
A panihida was served for the repose of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus (the Thursday prior had marked the ninth anniversary of his repose), former parish rector Bishop Constantine (Essensky), the parish’s clergy and parishioners, as well as all those killed during the tragic events in Russia 100 years ago.