On Saturday the 11th and Sunday the 12th of November, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York visited St. John the Russian Church in Ipswich, MA, where he served the All-Night Vigil on Saturday evening Vigil and celebrated Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, bringing great joy and edification to the faithful. His Eminence was co-served by parish rector Archpriest Spyridon Schneider, Deacon Alexander Doohovskoy (cleric of St. Xenia Church in Methuen, MA), and parish Deacon Photius Zelinski.
On Sunday morning, parish warden Matthew Lavita greeted His Eminence as he entered the church. At end of Sixth Hour, Metropolitan Hilarion ordained Monk Herman (Pugsley) a subdeacon, and after the Great Entrance, ordained Fr. Photius to the priesthood. The newly ordained Priest Photius will continue to fulfill his service at St. John parish.
In the days and weeks leading up to the First Hierarch’s visit, the warden, assisted by his sons Matthew and Alban, parishioner Sergius Wu and others, labored tirelessly preparing the grounds and church facility for the festal occasion. During the week preceding the visit, a beautiful gold dome was installed on the roof over the parish well, which provides pure well water for the church and surrounding community. The well is 575 feet deep, and at the bottom is a stone from the Jordan River and another stone from the Pool of Siloam, where the blind man received his sight.
The parish choir, led by Juliana Schneider, Seraphim McLean, James Hanson and Alexandra Oxnard and assisted by others, chanted beautifully in honor of our Lord, the Most Holy Mother of God, and the Holy Confessor John the Russian.
Beautiful flowers were arranged and provided by Genevieve Picard, and Matushka Xenia Schneider and the parish sisterhood prepared a bountiful festal luncheon.
After the banquet, congratulations and kind words were offered by Metropolitan Hilarion and Archpriest Spyridon.