On Sunday, March 19, the Sunday of the Cross, Archpriest Serafim Gan (rector of St. Seraphim Memorial Church to the Re-establishment of Unity within the Russian Church in Sea Cliff, NY) celebrated the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, and on the evening before, led the All-Night Vigil with the bringing out of the Cross. He was joined by Protodeacon Paul Wolkow (parish cleric) and Deacon Andrei Psarev, professor at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville, NY, who is also a member of the Inter-Council Presence of the Russian Orthodox Church.
After Liturgy, worshippers were invited to attend a luncheon followed by a lecture by Fr. Andrei, entitled "Goals & Challenges Facing the Russian Church Abroad and Their Conciliar Resolution." The talk centered on Metropolitan Laurus, the 10th anniversary of the Re-establishment of canonical unity between the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, and the forthcoming Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad.
Fr. Andrei discussed the significance of the All-Russian Local Church Council for the Russian Church Abroad based on Holy Tradition, and the words of Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory, trying to express the Orthodox viewpoint of the concept of conciliarity [catholicity] and offered his thoughts on strengthening the Church.
Despite the preceding Great Lenten services, the unusual weather, and cares of contemporary life, the event provoked intense and thoughtful discussion, including the history of the Russian Church and the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
Joining in the discussion and answering questions in this brotherly setting were the parish rector, Fr. Serafim, and Abbot Photius (Oulanov; cleric of neighboring Holy Virgin Intercession Church in Glen Cove and confessor at Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY). Fr. Serafim offered his profound gratitude to Fr. Andrei for his services and lecture, for his wise and sober attitude toward the complexities of Church life and his perpetual willingness to discuss these matters, making possible an honest, instructive, and healthy conversation on difficult and pressing issues in the life of the Church.
After a prayer, interaction between the clergy and laity continued over tea.
The Council of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad will take place on June 9-15 of this year.