From March 12-14, three clerics of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC – rector Archpriest Victor Potapov, Priests John Johnson and Alexander Resnikoff, participated in the annual Lenten Pastoral Retreat of the Eastern American Diocese, held at St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ.
At the conclusion of the retreat, the clergy, enriched by their interaction with their brother clergy from across the Eastern American Diocese, returned home, bringing with them the myrrh-streaming icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts" and her guardian, Sergei Fomin. On the road to Washington, they visited Holy Transfiguration Church in Baltimore, MD, where parishioners anxiously awaited the arrival of the icon. In the Baltimore church, the priests – joined by parish rector Archpriest Ion Barbus – served a moleben and akathist, followed by a meal prepared by the sisterhood of Holy Transfiguration Church.
The next day, Thursday, March 14, the myrrh-streaming icon was triumphally brought for the first time to St. Herman of Alaska Church in Stafford, VA for the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts, which was celebrated by His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen; former primate of the Orthodox Church in America), co-served by Priest Jonah Campbell (rector of Christ the Savior Church in Wayne, WV) and Archdeacon Sergius (Wilson, cleric of Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, WV). A moleben and akathist was served before the holy icon.
On Friday, March 15, the myrrh-streaming icon visited Holy Apostles Church in Beltsville, MD.
The next two days (March 16 and 17), the holy icon was present at St. John the Baptist Cathedral for all morning and evening Lenten services.
The Sunday Divine Liturgy, as well as the All-Night Vigil the night prior, was led by Eastern American Diocesan Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, so-served by all nine clerics of the cathedral and the guests from West Virginia, Frs. Jonah and Sergius. Singing at the Divine Liturgy were two cathedral choirs under the direction of Paula Genis and Reader Konstantine Ogora.
During the Liturgy, with the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, Reader Peter Gardener was ordained a subdeacon. During the Little Entrance, Deacon Gregory Trubetskoy was awarded the double orarion. The many faithful were communed from five chalices. As is customary, the sermon at the end of the Divine Liturgy was delivered by Bishop Nicholas dedicated to St. John Climacus.
After Divine Liturgy, faithful from Washington, DC remained with the myrrh-streaming icon. Everyone was anointed with holy myrrh and received a small copy of the holy icon. At the same time, the Protection of the Mother of God Sisterhood prepared a meal in the parish hall.
At the conclusion of the meal, the parishioners bade farewell to the holy icon, which departed for Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Philadelphia, PA.
In the evening the same day, the sacrament of Holy Unction was served for the whole parish by Bishop Nicholas, co-served by five priests and three deacons. Hundreds of the faithful received healing from the Holy Sacrament.