On Saturday, March 31, the feast of the resurrection of the Righteous Lazarus, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York paid an archpastoral visit to the Metochion Church of our Lady "The Inexhaustible Chalice" in Brooklyn, NY, and celebrated Divine Liturgy there. Founding a tradition, this is now the third year in a row that the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad has served for the feast in the Brooklyn parish.
Concelebrating with His Eminence were the rector and dean of the Metropolitan Metochion: Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine and Archimandrite Elevferiy (Skiba), respectively, as well as Archpriest Ion Arama (rector of Holy Annunciation Church in Flushing, NY), Hieromonk Laurus (Solomonov; cleric of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church), Protodeacon Dionysius Lvov, and Deacon Michael Pavuk (cleric of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA).
The faithful crowded into the small storefront church; in order to save room, candle counter staff sold bundles of palm fronds, flowers, and pussy willows outside in front of the church. Upon completion of the service, the First Hierarch blessed all of the palms and pussy willows, which would be distributed that evening and the following morning for the feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday).
The service was conducted in many different languages; besides Slavonic and English, prayers were offered up in German, Georgian, and Moldovan, among others. Liturgy was celebrated under the aegis of the myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts," currently traveling the Eastern American Diocese from Moscow. Virtually all in attendance received Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, on behalf of the parish, Fr. Alexandre congratulated Metropolitan Hilarion on the anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood (Lazarus Saturday 1976), and presented him with a bouquet of flowers and a special Theotokion prosphoron.
In turn, His Eminence greeted Fr. Alexandre with the anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood (Palm Sunday 2004), presented him with a beautiful hand-carved gold pectoral cross, and thanked him for all of his work in helping grow the parish and establishing the new church location. The parish presented Fr. Alexandre with a set of gold vestments.
After Liturgy, a luncheon was served in the parish hall.