On Saturday evening, March 18, the eve of the third Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of the Cross, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan accompanied the myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts" to the Synodal Headquarters in New York City, where he was met by the senior priest of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign, Archpriest Andrei Sommer. The All-Night Vigil was then served. At the service, after the Great Doxology, the hierarch performed the bringing out of the Life-Creating Cross, which was placed next to the myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God in the center of the church.
Praying at the All-Night Vigil were not only cathedral parishioners, but also faithful from the Greek, Romanian, Serbian, and Antiochian Orthodox Churches, among them deacon to the head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Archbishop Demetrios – Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos – and seminarians from the Greek seminary. Bishop Nicholas anointed all of the worshippers with holy myrrh.
On March 19, the Sunday of the Cross, Bishop Nicholas was co-served at Liturgy by Fr. Andrei Sommer, Hieromonks Eutychius (Dovganyuk) and Nikolai (Letsin), and Protodeacons Eugene Kallaur (cleric of St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY) and Nathan Mousselli (cleric of St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ). Worshippers filled the cathedral. Cathedral parishioners were joined by faithful from the Synodal English Mission, as well as by Orthodox Greeks, Romanians, and Antiochians. Thefaithfulwerecommunedfromtwochalices.
In his sermon [in Russian] upon completion of the service, Bishop Nicholas reminded the faithful that, while Christ was being crucified on Golgotha, the Mother of God stood nearby, shedding tears for the human race. "And where are we today in our lives?" asked His Grace. "Are we standing near to Christ on Golgotha, or are we far away from Christ? Let us ponder where our mind and our heart are. If we are not with Christ, then I fear we are lost to the Kingdom of God. That is why it is important for us to make haste, and throughout Great Lent to purify our hearts, drawing near to Christ, going up to Golgotha alongside Him. And, just as the crucified Christ vanquished death, so also we, following after Christ, must crucify our sins and not forget that the Mother of God is close to us – co-suffering with us, supporting us, praying for us." His Grace also called on the faithful to cultivate a sense of compassion toward our neighbors, emulating the Mother of God, who perpetually prays for the human race.
On account of the multitude of the faithful from many jurisdictions in attendance at Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas greeted them all and summarized the contents of his sermon for them in English. He also thanked the icon’s guardian, Sergey Fomin, for his visit, and assured him that the Synodal Cathedral would always be open to the wonderworking image. All of those present were anointed with holy myrrh, and received small copies of the Icon.
After Liturgy, a luncheon was offered in the cathedral hall, during which the clergy and parishioners interacted warmly.
During its visit to New York City, Bishop Nicholas visited the ailing cathedral Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff with the myrrh-streaming icon, and that evening visited Holy Myrrhbearers Church in Brooklyn, where he performed the Sacrament of Holy Unction, co-served by diocesan clergy.
Bishop Nicholas celebrates Liturgy in Synodal Cathedral for Lenten Sunday of the Cross - 03/21/17
Photos: A. Boldeskul
Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese ROCOR