On Tuesday, December 19, the feast of the Holy Hierarch Nicholas, Wonderworker of Myra in Lycia, His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, visited St. Nicholas Church in Enfield, CT, in order to lead the parish’s patronal feast.
His Grace celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by Archpriests Alexis Duncan (rector of Nativity of the Mother of God Church in Albany, NY), Michael Crowley (rector of St. Xenia Church in Methuen, MA), Brendan Crowley (parish rector), and Constantine Semyanko (rector of Presentation of Christ Church in Stratford, CT), Priest Alexis Lisennov (cleric of the Diocese of Vologda), Protodeacon Alexander Jarostchuk (cleric of Holy Epiphany Church in Boston, MA), Deacons Alexander Doohovskoy (cleric of St. Xenia Church), Alexey Pnev (cleric of New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY), and John Martin (parish cleric).
Upon completion of the service, Bishop Nicholas addressed the gathered faithful with a sermon, in which he said, in part:
"I greet you all with your patronal feast day! Today we commemorate and pray to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. Truly, as we serve the Divine Liturgy here at our parish – a joyous event with visiting clergy, beautiful singing, and a multitude of communicants – we feel this joy and strength and protection, and not only our love for St. Nicholas, but his love for us. All over our country, all over the world, Orthodox churches today glorify this wonderful saint. All Christian nations truly revere St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, because he had such love for God and served God, had such love for his neighbor and served his neighbor.
"St. Nicholas lived in the fourth century, and yet here, so many centuries later, his memory is so alive and so vivid. We remember this man as a kind person, one who attained the glory of God. Do we often consider how we will be remembered in five years, twenty, a hundred, or so on? Will we be remembered for our love for Christ and one another? How we act and pray and live today will have ramifications for our own memory and the even for life of the Church. As we hear in the troparion to St. Nicholas, he "attained great heights through humility." Many of us want to be popular and famous for earthly reasons, and yet we must remember that the grave awaits us all. So our heights should be those of humility, of love and prayer, and thus will our memory be eternal."
His Grace also noted that this was the namesday of the Holy Tsar-Martyr Nicholas, who through humility, love, and prayer attained a heavenly crown, and called on the faithful to glorify God for granting us such holy intercessors.
The parish has only recently moved into a new church from their previous location in West Springfield, MA, and has been raising funds to renovate the church. Glory to God, the sheetrock walls and arches were recently completed. Bishop Nicholas called on the faithful to help Fr. Brendan and the parish raise the funds necessary to fresco the walls, adorning the church in beautiful iconography.
After Liturgy, a bountiful luncheon was served in the parish hall.