On Monday evening, March 20, the annual Lenten Retreat for clergy of the Eastern American Diocese convened in the Diocesan Center at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ. Clergy from virtually every state in the Diocese, including its two biggest monasteries – Holy Trinity and Holy Cross – were in attendance.
The Retreat opened with the traditional Great Compline, served in Our Lady of Tikhvin Church, followed by a panihida for the departed diocesan hierarchs and clergy, as well as for "all those who in troubled times innocently died, endured suffering and torture, were exiled and imprisoned and tasted bitter death," the victims of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and its aftermath. In addition to the Retreat attendees, praying in church was Bishop Irenei of Sacramento, vicar of the Western American Diocese.
The prayerful service proceeded under the aegis of the myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts," currently traveling to the parishes and monasteries of the Eastern American Diocese.
Upon completion of the panihida, dinner was served for all of the participants. They eagerly await the arrival of the ruling bishop of the Diocese, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, who today returned from a visit to the Diocese of Great Britain along with the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, and will preside at the Retreat tomorrow.