On Sunday morning, December 17, Bishop Jerome traveled to Stratford, CT, where he celebrated Divine Liturgy in St. Nicholas Church. The visit was timed for the parish festivities in honor of its patronal feast, which would take place on Tuesday, December 19.
His Grace was greeted at the church to the peal of bells by the rector, Archpriest George Lardas. Concelebrating at Liturgy were Fr. George, parish Protodeacon Paul Giatas, Deacon Alexey Pnev (cleric of the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY), and visiting clergy. The service was sweetly sung by the parish choir, while the clergy offered up prayers in Slavonic, English, and some Greek.
Bishop Jerome delivered two sermons: the first, in Russian, on the words of the Epistle and Gospel on thankfulness ("We give thanks to the God and Father…" and "Ten were healed but where are the nine?"; and the second, in English, on "God hath delivered us from the power of darkness," touching on the deceptions of Satan.
Upon completion of Liturgy, the Polychronion was intoned for the hierarchy, clergy, and parishioners.
After the service, a delicious lenten meal was prepared by the sisterhood in the parish hall, during which the clergy and parishioners spoke on subjects relating to parish history and church life.
The founding of St. Nicholas Church in Stratford was largely the work of the aviator Igor Sikorsky (1889-1972), whose funeral took place from that church in late October of 1972. A devoted member of the Russian Orthodox Church, Sikorsky was also the author of spiritual literature, and possessed a large collection of crosses, which he donated to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. To this day, there are parishioners at St. Nicholas parish who remember him fondly.