On Sunday, December 4, the great feast of the Entrance into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrated Divine Liturgy in St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY, in the presence of one of the most ancient holy icons of the Russian Church – the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God.
His Grace was co-served by Archpriests Serafim Gan (memorial church rector), Andrei Sommer (senior priest of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City), Vasiliy Raskovskiy (Synodal cleric), and Alexandre Antchoutin (dean of Long Island & the Hudson Valley), and Protodeacons Vadim Gan (Synodal cleric) and Eugene Kallaur (parish cleric). Praying in the altar during Divine Liturgy and communing of Christ’s Holy Mysteries was parish Protodeacon Paul Wolkow.
After a short moleben and prayer before the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, His Grace addressed those present with a sermon on the feast. On behalf of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Bishop Nicholas then congratulated the parish rector on his milestone anniversary – 20 years of service as a priest – and presented him with an icon of the Holy Righteous Admiral Theodore Ushakov, with a memorial plaque.
In response, Fr. Serafim expressed his joy at the joint hierarchal celebration of the Divine Liturgy which had been arranged entirely to his surprise, and had taken place under the holy aegis of the wonderworking Icon of the Mother of God, further expressing his gratitude to His Grace and all those gathered for their prayers, patience, and condescension. After the kissing of the cross, the parish sisterhood, led by E.M. Mikheev, organized a bountiful festal luncheon in the parish refectory, where Fr. Eugene Kallaur had arranged a photo-exhibit dedicated to Fr. Serafim’s ordination and service in the parish.
Here warm words of greeting were offered by Bishop Nicholas, Fr. Andrei Sommer, Hieromonk Photius (Oulanov; cleric of neighboring Holy Virgin Intercession Church in Glen Cove), and A.S. Slobodskoy, who directed the attention of reception participants to the role played by matushkas in the priests’ life and service. Concluding his speech, Slobodskoy raised a glass for the health of Matushka Irina Gan, Fr. Serafim’s spouse, and the parish sisters presented her with a bouquet of flowers. On behalf of the sisterhood, A.N. Ryl delivered congratulatory remarks, and alongside E.M. Mikheev and the other sisters presented Fr. Serafim with a beautiful set of blue vestments, along with a podriznik and chalice covers. On behalf of parishioners and guests, S.I. Gurbeloshvili offered his own words of greeting, and then presented Fr. Serafim with a lovely set of green vestments.
Speaking last, Fr. Serafim shared some of his recollections from his ordination and didactic events from his life as a pastor, expressing his deep appreciation for the love, attention, patience, and condescension toward his faults, asking prayers that he might become a true priest and Christian, or at least a "penitent thief," in order that he might find God’s mercy through repentance and save his soul.
20th Anniversary of Archpriest Serafim Gan's Priestly Ordination - 12/04/16