On Wednesday the 15th and Thursday the 16th of February, the feast day of the Holy Hierarch Nicholas of Japan, Equal-of-the-Apostles, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrated his namesday in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
On February 16, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York; co-serving the hierarchs were clergy from New York, New Jersey, and Russia:
- Archpriest Andrei Sommer (senior priest of the cathedral)
- Archpriest Serge Lukianov (Eastern American Diocesan secretary)
- Archpriest Serafim Gan (chancellor of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops)
- Archpriest Mark Burachek (rector of Our Lady of Kazan Church in Newark, NJ)
- Archpriest Petro Kunitsky (cleric of Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia Church in Brooklyn, NY)
- Archpriest Boris Slootsky (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ)
- Hieromonk Vladimir (Zgoba; rector of Our Lady "Unexpected Joy" Church on Staten Island, NY)
- Archpriest Vasiliy Raskovskiy (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral)
- Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of Long Island & the Hudson Valley)
- Archpriest Ioann Chervinsky (cleric of the Diocese of Kursk)
- Hieromonks Eutychius (Dovganyuk) and Zosimas (Krampis; Synodal clerics)
- Protodeacon Dimitry Temidis (cleric of Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY)
- Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY)
- Protodeacon Eugene Kallaur (cleric of St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY)
- Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral)
- Protodeacon Dionysius Lvov (Synodal cleric)
- Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; cleric of "Novo-Diveevo")
The divine services were held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora – the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. Located on an analogion in the center of the church was an icon of St. Nicholas of Japan, painted and presented to Bishop Nicholas in Japan. The All-Night Vigil and Liturgy were adorned with the singing of the hierarchal choir under the direction of Peter Fekula, and some of the hymns were sung in Japanese.
Upon completion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion greeted Bishop Nicholas and offered words of congratulation. Making special note of the gift and calling of the saint as a missionary, the Metropolitan said, in part: "The goal of our Orthodox Church is a missionary one, and it is especially important for us to be missionaries abroad. We have a twofold task – to enlighten our Russian people, and also the local people here, who seek the true Orthodox Faith. And our task is to receive and enlighten them. Today’s feast is a feast of missionaries, archpastors and pastors, who are called to nourish our flock, that the people might attain the Heavenly Kingdom."
Metropolitan Hilarion thanked his vicar for his labors, both as deputy secretary of the Synod of Bishops and as guardian of the Kursk Root icon of the Mother of God, and wished him strength and diligence, that the Lord might preserve him for many years in his service to the Holy Church.
On behalf of the clergy and laity of the Eastern American Diocese, Archpriest Serge Lukianov congratulated His Grace and presented him with a treby vestment set.
The interaction of the clergy and parishioners continued in the church hall during the festal luncheon, which had been prepared by the cathedral sisterhood and during which sincere words of congratulation were offered to Bishop Nicholas.
On behalf of the Synodal staff, as well as the clergy and parishioners of St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, Archpriest Serafim Gan congratulated His Grace. Fr. Serafim recalled the words from St. Nicholas of Japan’s journal, which he had read while preparing himself for ordination to the priesthood, and which at the time had given him comfort and prepared him for this responsible step: "St. Nicholas said, ‘First one must conquer love, and only then spread the word.’ And truly: if a man demonstrates love, then his word and instruction will be followed. It is truly a comfort to see that Bishop Nicholas tries to manifest these words in his life. And today I would like to wish, speaking in the words of the Psalmist, ‘that thy rod and staff might comfort us,’ that in your archpastoral service you might always be to us an aid and comfort."