On March 17-18, the Sunday of St. John Climacus, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York visited the Church of the Icon of the "Reigning" Mother of God in Charlotte, NC, and led the divine services. The First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad arrived on Saturday afternoon, and led the All-Night Vigil service. Many of the faithful came to confess their sins, that the following morning they might partake of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
At Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, His Eminence was concelebrated by parish rector Archpriest Alexander Logunov, Abbot Gabriel (Kvasnikov; rector of Holy Trinity Church in Mebane, NC), Priest Theodore Kyritsis (Greek Orthodox Church; retired), and parish clerics Priest Alexander Stepanenko and Deacon Ivan Makarow.
At the Little Entrance, Fr. Alexander Stepanenko was elevated to the rank of archpriest.
Upon completion of the service, Metropolitan Hilarion delivered a sermon on the subject of the Sunday of St. John Climacus, and wished the faithful God’s aid in completing the course of the Great Fast. The clergy and worshippers then proceeded outside, where His Eminence blessed two new cupolas for the church, as well as an icon of Christ "Not Made by Hands" above the church entrance.
The First Hierarch bestowed diocesan gramotas upon parishioners Vladimir B. Landik, Alexey V. Nikulshin, and Oleg F. Karabet for their work in the parish and in adoring the house of God.
A luncheon then followed for all in attendance in the parish hall.