On Sunday, December 10, His Grace, Bishop Jerome, visited the Church of the Entrance into the Temple of the Holy Virgin in the Syracuse suburb of Jamesville, NY. The visit was timed for the parish festivities in honor of its patronal feast, which had taken place on Monday, December 4.
His Grace was greeted in Utica by Professor Vitaly Permiakov of Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, and was driven to Holy Trinity Monastery, where he led the resurrectional All-Night Vigil. A special magnification was sung at the Polyeleos in honor of the feast of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God of the Sign – the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora.
On Sunday morning, Bishop Jerome proceeded to Jamesville; although the snow had fallen heavily near the monastery, the road grew entirely clear as His Grace and those accompanying him approach the parish. Their party was met by the parish clergy, subdeacons, and readers with bread and salt at the entrance to the church.
Bishop Jerome celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by parish rector Archpriest Nicholas Tkatschow and Protodeacon Joseph Jarostchuk (cleric of St. John of Kronstadt Memorial Church in Utica). The service was sung beautifully by the parish choir in Slavonic and English. The church filled gradually throughout the service, and many of the faithful – including many children – communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
His Grace delivered two homilies: one in Russian, on the words of the Epistle: "Our battle is not against flesh and blood," in which the Holy Apostle Paul enumerates the spiritual armor needed by the Christian for spiritual warfare -- and another in English, on the words of the second Gospel, "For Mary hath chosen that good part." What is that "good part," and how do we go about choosing it?
After Liturgy, a festal lenten luncheon was served in the parish hall, thanks to the efforts of the parish sisterhood. Special care was given to the guests, with Matushka Galina Tkatschow even giving the visiting cell attendants care packages to take back with them to college.
The clergy and parishioners continued to interact throughout the luncheon, and by the time His Grace was ready to depart, had begun singing Russian folk songs together. Fr. Nicholas extended an invitation to all who were interested to join the parish choir, and use their voices to offer praise to God.