From December 25-28, as part of his archpastoral visit to Florida, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York visited St. Nicholas Monastery, where he celebrated three Divine Liturgies.
Upon his arrival at the monastery on Sunday evening, December 25, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad served a panihida for those who died in the tragic plane crash near Sochi (92 people were on board).
On Monday, December 26, His Eminence was co-served at Divine Liturgy by Archimandrite Alexander (Belya; dean of Florida and monastery abbot), Archimandrite Barsanuphius (Podyma; cleric of the UOC Diocese of Voznesensk), Archpriest Peter Jackson (dean of the Spanish Missions Deanery), Priest Constantine Desrosiers (cleric of St. Xenia Church in Methuen, MA), and Priest Demetrio Romeo (rector of St. Luke the Blessed Surgeon Church in Coconut Creek, FL).
Also praying at the divine service was New York City dean Archpriest Alexander Belya.
At the service, Metropolitan Hilarion read the prayers for the installation of a new abbot, and presented the abbot’s staff to the monastery’s rector, Archimandrite Alexander. Symbolically, this staff had belonged to the monastery’s founder and first abbot, Archimandrite John (Lewis).
During the Liturgy, the First Hierarch ordained John Marvin to the diaconate; Fr. John will serve the Mission of St. Michael the Archangel in Puerto Rico. The service that day was conducted in three languages: Church Slavonic, English, and Spanish.
Upon completion of the service Metropolitan Hilarion, noting the labors of Mother Abbess Andrea in preserving the monastery in the most difficult period of its existence, presented her with the Order of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, 2nd Class.
Metropolitan Hilarion also underscored that the task now is to continue restoring and growing St. Nicholas Monastery into a true pearl in Florida.
Archimandrite Alexander also thanked Mother Andrea personally, and presented her with a silver reliquary cross, noting that she will always be a treasured guest at the monastery. The abbot also expressed words of gratitude to Fr. Constantine, who for many years has assisted in the monastery’s operation.
Fr. Alexander further made an important announcement, that in the near future, two Liturgies will be served at the monastery on Sundays – one in Church Slavonic and one in English, while divine services will be held morning and evening on weekdays; in other words, the full cycle of services will commence.
The first full day of Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit to St. Nicholas Stavropegial Monastery concluded with a communal luncheon.
On Tuesday, December 27, Metropolitan Hilarion so co-served at Liturgy by Archimandrite Alexander, Fr. Alexander Belya, Archpriest Luka Novakovic (Serbian Orthodox Church), Fr. Constantine Desrosiers, Priest Joshua Schooping (rector of St. Sophia Church in Kissimmee, FL), and Priest Mark Rowe (rector of St. Joseph Church in Sarasota, FL).
At the service, Metropolitan Hilarion performed to ordinations: Deacon John Marvin was ordained to the priesthood, while Nicholas Sepubida was ordained to the diaconate. The newly ordained clerics will fulfill their service in the Mission of St. Michael the Archangel in Puerto Rico.
On Wednesday, December 28, Metropolitan Hilarion was co-served at Liturgy by Archimandrite Hilarion (Morozov; secretary of the Moscow Metochion of the Metropolia of Kazakhstan), Fr. Luka Novakovic, Fr. Constantine Desrosiers, Fr. John Marvin, Fr. Mark Rowe, and Deacon Michael Criscella (cleric of St. Vladimir Church in Miami).
During the service, Metropolitan Hilarion ordained Fr. Nicholas Sepubida to the priesthood.
Upon completion of the service, the Archpastor congratulated Fr. Hilarion on his namesday, wishing him many years of life and God’s help in his labors on behalf of the Church.
After Liturgy, a luncheon was offered for all in the monastery refectory.
Thus concluded Metropolitan Hilarion’s archpastoral visit to Florida. In his parting remarks, His Eminence thanked everyone involved for the warm reception and spiritual joyful atmosphere of prayer. The Archpastor wished Archimandrite Alexander strength and God’s aid, through the prayers of the Holy Hierarch Nicholas, in his labors growing the monastery in Ft. Myers, where work has already begun on the beautification of the grounds.
The First Hierarch then departed for New York City.
North Ft. Myers, FL: Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates Three Liturgies in St. Nicholas Monastery - 12/28/16