On Sunday, September 24, the parishioners of Nativity of the Mother of God Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY, held their annual parish celebration, usually held on the Sunday nearest their patronal feast day – September 21. This year, the divine services were concelebrated by His Eminence Gabriel, Archbishop of Montreal & Canada, and His Grace, Bishop Jerome.
The morning began with the Lesser Blessing of Water, performed by Abbot Cornelius (Apukhtin; parish cleric). After the two hierarchs were greeted, Liturgy began. Co-served with Archbishop Gabriel and Bishop Jerome were Archimandrite Maximos (Weimar; abbot of St. Dionysius Monastery in East Setauket, NY), Archpriests Ilya Gorsky (rector of Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY), and Alexander Donchenko (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Poughkeepsie, NY), Fr. Cornelius, deputy rector Priest George Temidis (parish cleric), Protodeacons Dimitri Temidis (cleric of Holy Virgin Protection Church) and Vadim Gan (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City), and Deacons Michael Pavuk (cleric of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA) and Alexey Pnev (parish cleric).
A large number of the faithful, who had gathered for the parish celebration, were communed from two chalices.
At the conclusion of Liturgy, Archbishop Gabriel addressed the worshippers with a sermon on the role of the Most Holy Theotokos in the history of the Kursk Root Icon and monasteries in Russia and in the American land. Liturgy was followed by the traditional moleben with a procession around the church. After the Polychronion was intoned, Bishop Jerome delivered a short greeting, welcoming Archbishop Gabriel and thanking him for his prayers.
An abundant luncheon followed in the parish hall and outdoors, including celebratory words by and in honor of the clergy.
Archbishop Gabriel spent the remainder of the afternoon enjoying time on the grounds of the New Kursk Root Hermitage, visiting the grounds, the cemetery, and the chapel at the monastery pond.