On Wednesday, March 14, the Northern Lenten Retreat of clergy, matushkas, and seminarians of the Eastern American Diocese at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY concluded with a Hierarchal Presanctified Liturgy in the monastery’s main church, led by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion. His Eminence was co-served by His Grace George, Bishop of Mayfield, and the retreat’s clerical participants: 40 priests and 12 deacons. The Liturgy served as an expression of the spiritual unity of the Eastern American Diocesan clergy, who had gathered during the days of the Holy Forty-Day Fast in the cradle of the Russian Diaspora ‒ the first Orthodox monastery founded by ascetic monastics who arrived in the American land from Transcarpathia.
Singing at the divine services was the seminary choir, under the direction of Reader Nicholas Kotar. At the Little Entrance, Hieromonk Gabriel (Kvasnikov; rector of Holy Trinity Church in Mebane, NC) was awarded the right to wear the gold pectoral cross. Metropolitan Hilarion offered up special prayers for the granting of peace to the Ukrainian people, suffering from civil strife and disorder.
The many clergy, monastics, seminarians, and pilgrims communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries. In honor of the Lenten Retreat, a general photograph was taken of the participants with their Archpastors.
After the Liturgy, a farewell luncheon was held in the monastery refectory, during which Metropolitan Hilarion thanked the rector, Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), and the brethren for their hospitality; diocesan secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov and diocesan staff for their more than month-long work organizing the pastoral conference; and the rector of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC, Archpriest Victor Potapov, for his interesting lecture, which drew a lively response and discussion from the clergy.
Fr. Serge Lukianov, addressing the seminarians, said: "It seems as though we, former seminarians ourselves, were only just recently sitting here on these benches, thinking, as you are now, to what parish, state, or country we will be sent; who our matushka will be; what kind of children we will have. The years have passed, but even now, coming to the monastery and entering the church or the refectory, we see the faces of the monks and remember: there sat Fr. Panteleimon, there ‒ Fr. Flor. There went Fr. Vladimir, and there, in the ponomarka, sat Father Protodeacon John Onopko, who also is no longer with us. How many ascetics have labored here! And it brings us joy to know that our best years were spent in seminary. And here is our advice to you, seminarians: these are the most precious years. You can ask any priest or deacon who studied here, and he will tell you, that this was a most golden time, which we could dedicate to prayer and our studies."
Fr. Serge also sincerely thanked Fr. Luke for the warm welcome and the lovingly prepared lenten meals, and expressed particular gratitude to Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop George for their participation, service, kindheartedness, and spiritual instruction to the clergy, all of which is especially comforting in the days of Great Lent.
Archpriest Victor Potapov and Fr. Serge, accompanied by retreat participants, monastics, and pilgrims, made their way to the monastery cemetery, where they served a panihida for the repose of the murdered Brother Jose, guardian of the myrrh-streaming Iveron-Montreal Icon of the Mother of God. Fr. Victor called on the clergy to serve litiyas for the repose of the chosen one of the Mother of God, renowned throughout the world, who served her with devotion until his own martyric death.
With that, the Northern Lenten Retreat concluded. In the second half of the day, participants ‒ spiritually comforted and illumined ‒ returned to their parishes. The Southern Lenten Retreat will take place on March 24-26 at Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, WV.
Jordanville: Northern Lenten Retreat concludes with Hierarchal Presanctified Liturgy - 03/14/14