On Sunday, January 28, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, visited St. John the Forerunner Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, and celebrated Divine Liturgy.
This was Metropolitan Hilarion’s first divine service in the United States after concluding an archpastoral visit to the Diocese of Australia & New Zealand. As a result, a multitude of worshippers came that day to pray together with their archpastor.
Cathedral rector and New York City dean Archpriest Alexander Belya greeted His Eminence at the entrance to the church, offering him words of welcome.
The First Hierarch was co-served at the Divine Liturgy by Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Fr. Alexander, Archimandrite Pimen (Matsola; dean of Archangel Michael Monastery in Grushovo, Ukrainian Orthodox Church), Archpriest Vasily Deyak; Archpriest Vasily Yurina, (parish cleric), Abbot Vladimir (Zgoba; rector of Unexpected Joy Church on Staten Island, NY), Archpriest Vasiliy Raskovskiy (diocesan cleric), Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov; abbot of Hermitage of the Holy Protection in Buena, NJ), Protodeacon Vadim Gan (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City), Deacon Rostislav Zadorozhny (cathedral cleric), and Deacon Eugene Hrihoriak (cleric of the Diocese of Montreal & Canada).
The Liturgy was adorned with the beautiful singing of the cathedral choir, under the direction of Alexander Falkovich.
Upon conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas read aloud a congratulatory address from His Eminence Joseph, Metropolitan of North America, primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America. Metropolitan Hilarion was presented with the order of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, First Class.
Metropolitan Joseph wrote, in part: "On behalf of the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful children of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, we sincerely greet you on your 70th birthday. On this momentous occasion, we present to you the order of St. Raphael of Brooklyn, First Class. Our two churches share a common history in North America, founded upon the missionary work of St. Tikhon (Bellavin), Patriarch of Moscow, and St. Raphael of Brooklyn. May these two contemporary saints, who laid the foundation for our presence, continue to inspire you to do what is pleasing to Christ and His Holy Church as the First Hierarch of ROCOR."
In honor of the feast, Metropolitan Hilarion presented commemorative medals marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Archimandrite Antonin (Kapustin) to clerics and benefactors of the Brooklyn Cathedral.
His Eminence then expressed his gratitude to Fr. Alexander and the parishioners for their prayers and warm congratulations and wished them God’s blessings.
After the service, everyone proceeded to a festal luncheon, which was held in a warm atmosphere, where many of those present had an opportunity to speak and share their spiritual joy.