Celebrations for the patronal feast of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sing began with All-Night Vigil on Saturday evening, December 9. On Sunday, December 10, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral in New York City.
Concelebrating with His Eminence were Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky; chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem), and cathedral and diocesan clergy: Archpriests George Konyev (rector of Three Saints Church MP in Garfield, NJ), Serge Lukianov (diocesan secretary), Andrei Sommer (cathedral senior priest), Vasiliy Raskovskiy (diocesan cleric), Alexander Botschagow (rector of Holy Fathers Church in New York City), Vasily Yurina (cleric of St. John the Forerunner Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY), and Ioann Chervinsky (cathedral cleric); Abbots Vladimir (Zgoba; rector of Unexpected Joy Church on Staten Island, NY) and Eutychius (Dovganyuk; cleric of St. Gregory the Theologian Parish in New York City); Archpriest Petro Hnatkivskyy (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ); Hieromonks Zosimas (Krampis; rector of the English Mission at St. Sergius Chapel in New York City) and Tikhon (Gayfudinov; rector of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ); Priest George Temidis (deputy rector of New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY); Protodeacons Nicolas Mokhoff, Vadim Gan, and Dionysius Lvov (cathedral clerics); Protodeacons Dimitri Temidis (cleric of Holy Protection Church in Nyack, NY), Paul Wolkow (cleric of St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY), Serge Arlievsky and Vladimir Barros (clerics of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), and Leonid Roschko (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral), and Deacon Michael Pavuk (cleric St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA). Also praying in the altar was Priest Lev Smith (rector of St. John the Wonderworker Church in Des Moines, IA).
The cathedral was full, a multitude of parishioners and faithful from other cities and states gathering or the divine service.
During the reading of the Hours, Metropolitan Hilarion tonsured Nicholas Soy a reader for St. Gregory the Theologian Mission in Manhattan.
At the Little Entrance, His Eminence awarded Abbot Eutychius (Dovganyuk) the right to wear the jeweled cross.
Attending the patronal feast of the Cathedral of the Sign was Deacon Roman Gultyaev (cleric of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem), who had been ordained to the diaconate in the cathedral. At Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion ordained him to the priesthood. Fr. Roman, who is also a tour guide and scholar of the history of Russian presence in the Holy Land, is well known to many Orthodox Christians both in America and in Russia.
Upon completion of the service, Fr. Tikhon (Gayfudinov) addressed those present with a sermon on the history of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. The hierarchs and clergy served a short moleben before the Kursk Root Icon. That day, a multitude of the faithful confessed and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated the clergy, cathedral parishioners, and guests with the patronal feast, saying: "Today we glorify the Most Pure Virgin Mary, who grants us her protection, especially through her ancient, prayer-filled Kursk Root Icon, which has abided with us abroad since 1920. We thank the Lord God, that through the prayers of His Most Pure Mother, He has sent us spiritual aid, admonishment, and healing of soul and body." The Metropolitan thanked the hierarchs, clergy, and all of those in attendance who came to share in the joy of the feast, wishing them God’s aid, strength, and the grace of God in their spiritual growth.
Metropolitan Hilarion highlighted the good works of several cathedral laborers, and presented hierarchal gramotas to Ekaterina Penchuk Grabbe, Svetlana Yakushin, Tamara Angelo, Elena Sokolovsky, and Elena Bakanin.
Addressing Metropolitan Hilarion, Bishop Nicholas congratulated him with a personal jubilee – the 33rd anniversary of his hierarchal consecration, which he received at the hands of Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky; +1985) of blessed memory, as well as a number of other bishops. "Our brother-hierarchs feel this grace, as does our clergy and our flock," said Bishop Nicholas. "I wish that our holy icon, our Protectress, will always remain in your life, that the protection of the Mother of God might always guard you. You often travel around the entire world, but God is with us, as are your prayers. We ask that you also pray for us and led us on the path of salvation."
The cathedral sisterhood invited the hierarchs, clergy, and guests to a festal luncheon in the cathedral hall, where the informal interaction of the participants of the Synodal Cathedral’s feast continued.