On Saturday, June 24, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, visited Holy Protection Male Skete in Buena, NJ, and celebrated Divine Liturgy there.
His Eminence was co-served by Archimandrite Elevferiy (Skiba; dean of "Inexhaustible Chalice" Church in Brooklyn, NY), Archpriest Liubo Milosevich (rector of Holy Trinity Church in Vineland, NJ), Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov; skete abbot), Priest Gregory Winsky (cleric of St. Michael’s Patriarchal Church in Philadelphia, PA), Priest Anatoly Revitskyy (skete cleric), Protodeacon Dionysius Lvov (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City), and Deacon Valentine Revitskyy (Ukrainian Orthodox Church).
For the spiritual solace of the faithful, Metropolitan Hilarion brought with him a reliquary containing relics of particularly venerated saints: the Holy Hierarchs Nicholas of Myra in Lycia and Spyridon of Trimythous, Venerable Sergius of Radonezh and Seraphim of Sarov, the Holy Great-Martyr & Healer Panteleimon, and others. The reliquary will remain at the skete for several weeks. All who wish may visit the skete for scheduled divine services and pray before the relics.
Faithful from New York and neighboring states gathered at the divine service, many of whom communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Metropolitan Hilarion thanked the abbot and parishioners for their work in restoring the skete, for raising up a parish from effectively the ground up, where today "life reigns," and a growing group of parishioners gathers for prayer, partaking in the Sacraments of the Church. Over the past several months, the skete has seen more than ten baptisms; the territory is being beautified, and the cemetery is cared for on a regular basis.
Fr. Tikhon greeted Metropolitan Hilarion and thanked His Eminence for finding the time to come and serve at Holy Protection Skete, sharing words of instruction with parishioner and pilgrim alike.
The feast continued with a luncheon, during which parishioners had an opportunity to converse with the clergy and one another.
Upon completion of the luncheon, Metropolitan Hilarion walked the skete grounds and inspected the new porch, built to replace the original, which was destroyed when a car crashed into it. The Metropolitan noted that the newly constructed porch is much more convenient that the old one: it has cover from precipitation, and was built to accommodate safe entrance into the church for the elderly.
Currently, construction and renovation work is continuing at the skete, particularly in the belfry. New trees, bushes, and flowers have been planted on the grounds and throughout the cemetery.
His Eminence especially thanked the abbot for his ongoing care of the cemetery, which now resembles a park: since the Metropolitan’s last visit to the skete, trees have been cut down, cherry blossoms have been planted, tombstone crosses righted, and the gravesites of the first parishioners, by whose labors the church was built, have been cleaned.
Fr. Tikhon noted the significance of this cemetery for the Orthodox Christians here, where there is no other Russian cemetery nearby. Currently, the cemetery at Holy Protection Skete has plots available.
Divine services at the skete are held on Sundays and on great and major feasts. Hoursstartat 9:30 AM, Liturgyat 10:00 AM.