On Saturday, September 16, parishioners of St. Michael the Archangel Cathedral in Paterson, NJ, led by their rector, Archpriest George Zelenin, gathered on a property in the nearby town of Wayne, where with God’s help they hope to build a new St. Michael’s Church.
That day, parishioners awaited the arrival of the diocesan vicar, His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan, who would lead the blessing of a wooden water blessing chapel – dedicated to the Icon of the Mother of God "Unexpected Joy" – located on the grounds of the future church.
After the greeting, Bishop Nicholas led the water blessing moleben in the chapel, co-served by diocesan secretary Archpriest Serge Lukianov, Fr. George, and cathedral Deacon Andrei Logvinenko.
The service was held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora – the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God.
Upon completion of the moleben, His Grace addressed the gathered parishioners and guests with a sermon, in which he said, in part:
"Today is a grace-filled day. We have blessed a new chapel dedicated to the Icon of the Mother of God ‘Unexpected Joy,’ which you have erected through your own efforts. And soon, with God’s help, you will built a church. May God grant that this land will always be adorned with the cross and prayer.
"You have a good beginning, because the Mother of God herself, in his Kursk Root Icon, has come to you. In less than a week, the holy image will leave for Russia – for Kursk and Orenburg – for three week, and before this journey, she has come to you in a quiet manner, in order to bless you, support you, and comfort you. What else can I say, except – God help you, brothers and sisters; labor unto the glory of God."
Then, on behalf of His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, Bishop Nicholas thanked Fr. George and everyone present for their labors, joint prayer, and joyous reception, and with the blessing of the First Hierarch presented diocesan gramotas to laborers and donors whose efforts made the construction of the chapel possible, among whom were: Deacon Andrei and Matushka Nina Logvinenko, Igor and Natalia Gruzdev, Alexander and Alla Zaytsev, Olga Druzhbina, Konstantin Korotnyuk, Evgeny Anisimov, Oleg Pikalov, Andrei Shchetinnikov, Irina Voronetsky, and Alexander and Svetlana Smirnov.
On behalf of himself personally, Bishop Nicholas gifted the chapel an icon of Venerable Job of Pochaev – the Heavenly patron of the "Diasporan Lavra" – Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY and Holy Trinity Seminary that operates within its walls.
After everyone came up to His Grace, kissed the Cross, received a copy of the Kursk Root Icon, and were sprinkled with holy water, a parish picnic was held in the open air.