On Saturday, November 18, the feast day of the Holy Hierarch Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, visited "Unexpected Joy" Church on Staten Island, NY.
His Eminence was greeted by Archpriest Alexander Belya (dean of New York City), Archimandrite Elevferiy (Skiba; dean of "Inexhaustible Chalice" Church in Brooklyn, NY), Abbot Vladimir (Zgoba; parish rector), Archpriest Leonid Goferman (rector of Holy Virgin Protection Church in New Brunswick, NJ), Priest Vitaliy Lalyukov (parish cleric), and Deacon Rostislav Zadorozhny (cleric of St. John the Forerunner Cathedral in Brooklyn).
Greeting their distinguished guest, Fr. Vladimir addressed Metropolitan Hilarion with a word of greeting, noting, "By God’s grace and with the support of our parishioners, we were able to erect a new iconostasis, and have invited you here today to bless it, Your Eminence. For this, we offer much gratitude to God. We thank you for answering our call and coming to support us in our church."
After the vesting of the hierarch and the reading of the Hours, Metropolitan Hilarion blessed the new iconostasis, and then celebrated Divine Liturgy. At the Little Entrance, for his labors on behalf of the Holy Church, Fr. Vladimir was elevated to the rank of abbot.
The new church choir sang the service tenderly, which lent a spirit of solemnity to the feast.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion delivered a sermon on the subject of the feast. Fr. Vladimir thanked His Eminence for visiting the church and for the primatial prayers he had offered up. On behalf of the clergy of the entire deanery, Fr. Alexander offered words of greeting, in which he congratulated the rector with the blessing of the iconostasis and with his award.
After the service, a festal luncheon was served, during which the clergy and some of the parishioners shared their joy at having celebrating the feast.
Translation by Eastern American Diocesan Media Office