On Sunday, December 20, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, conducted his first hierarchal visit to St. Herman of Alaska Church in Stafford, VA, since the little "country church" transitioned from the Orthodox Church in America to the Russian Church Abroad on January 31, 2013.
After the Metropolitan’s arrival and greeting with the customary bread and salt by the church warden, Reader Jason Connerley, the parish rector, Archpriest Alexander Webster, presented the holy cross to His Eminence, who then proceeded to venerate the iconostas and vest in the midst of the congregation. Before the beginning of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion tonsured Nectarios Daniel Harrison as a reader, the fifth tonsured reader for the parish.
Concelebrating the Liturgy was Archpriest Victor Potapov (Dean of the South), Fr. Alexander, Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov; rector of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ), Protodeacon Patrick Mitchell (cleric of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC), and parish Deacon Alexander Laymon. The choir was directed by Jo Lu Terrell. Following the Liturgy, His Eminence blessed the hands of lay iconographer Matushka Joanna Laymon with a prayer derived from Dionysios of Fourna’s Mount Athos Painter’s Guide (18th century).
A group photo outside the chapel on a sunny winter’s day included the fully vested Metropolitan, the clergy, and sixty parishioners and guests.
After the photo and the Post-Communion Prayers, the honored guests and attendees enjoyed a delightful Lenten luncheon prepared by the Sisterhood of Myrrhbearing Women, under the leadership of interim Senior Sister Judith Maria Cook.
The clergy and faithful of St. Herman Church were blessed to welcome the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad and the visiting clergy, especially on the occasion of the feast of the great prophetic bishop, the Holy Hierarch Ambrose of Milan, and in anticipation of the patronal feast five days hence of the humble Russian monk, missionary, and defender of the native American Aleuts, Venerable Herman of Alaska.
Stafford, VA: Metropolitan Hilarion leads Divine Services in St. Herman of Alaska Church - 12/20/15