On Friday, February 16, the feast of Holy Hierarch Nicholas of Japan, the Heavenly patron of Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, a moleben to the Enlightener of Japan was served in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. The moleben was led by Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York and co-served by Bishop Nicholas, as well as:
- Archpriest George Larin (pastor emeritus of Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY)
- Archpriest Serge Lukianov (secretary of the Eastern American Diocese)
- Abbot Vladimir (Zgoba, rector of "Unexpected Joy" Church on Staten Island, NY)
- Archpriest Boris Oparin (rector of St. Joasaph of Belgorod Church in Brooklyn, NY)
- Archpriest Petro Kunitsky (cleric of Holy New Martyrs of Russia Church in Brooklyn, NY)
- Archpriest Alexandre Anchoutine (dean of Long Island & the Hudson Valley)
- Priest Serge Ledkovsky (deputy rector of St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ)
- Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov; cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City)
- Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ)
- Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), and
- Deacon Pavel Roudenko (cathedral cleric)
Also praying at the service were: Archpriest Serafim Gan (chancellor of the Synod of Bishops), Archpriest Andrei Sommer (senior priest of the Synodal Cathedral); Archimandrite Elevferiy (Skiba; dean of "Inexhaustible Chalice" Church in Brooklyn, NY); Hieromonk Zosimas (Krampis; cleric of St. Sergius Church at the Synod of Bishops), and Protodeacon Nicholas Mokhoff (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral).
Present in the cathedral for the moleben was the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. Many parishioners and guests came to congratulate their archpastor.
At the conclusion of the moleben, Metropolitan Hilarion spoke of the missionary service of the Holy Hierarach Nicholas (Kasatkin) in Japan during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There, the saint learned the Japanese language, history, religion, and customs of the country, bringing Orthodoxy to the Japanese people. His Eminence congratulated Bishop Nicholas on his namesday and expressed his hope that St. Nicholas will always serve as a source of inspiration and as a prayerful intercessor, as well as an example of how to toil among the non-Orthodox and how to introduce the Faith to those who live in Western culture. Metropolitan Hilarion expressed his gratitude to Bishop Nicholas for his assistance, and wished him good health and spiritual joy, and presented him with an icon of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov – the saint who always called the faithful to not waver in faith and to always remain joyful in the Lord.
On behalf of the Diocesan Council, clergy, and faithful of the Eastern American Diocese, Fr. Serge Lukianov congratulated Bishop Nicholas on his namesday and presented him with an icon of the Holy Hierarch Nicholas the Wonderworker.
Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov), cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral, congratulated Bishop Nicholas on behalf of the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk.
In turn, Bishop Nicholas congratulated Metropolitan Hilarion, the clergy, and parishioners with the after-feast of the Meeting of the Lord and the feast of St. Nicholas of Japan. He thanked all for their kind words and joy to be able to serve the moleben together.
"The feast of the Meeting of the Lord continues," said Bishop Nicholas "We celebrate the meeting of the Lord with mankind. I wish that all of us continue this kind of living encounter with the Lord, in our spiritual lives, in our parishes, and in our families. This kind of meeting blesses us on our earthly journey and unto everlasting salvation."
At the conclusion of the service, the clergy and parishioners were invited to the church hall, where a new portrait of Bishop Nicholas was presented, after which the cathedral sisterhood offered a festal meal.