On Tuesday, May 15, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan visited the Diocesan Center and, on the eve of the Leavetaking of Pascha, prayed at the evening divine service in St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ.
The following morning, Wednesday, May 16, His Grace celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by cathedral dean Archpriest Serge Lukianov, Archpriest Vasily Andrejuk (rector of St. Cyril of Turov Carpatho-Russian Church in Richmond Hills, NY), Archpriests Rafael Melendez and Boris Slootsky (cathedral clerics), Abbot Vladimir (Zgoba; rector of the Church of our Lady "Unexpected Joy" on Staten Island, NY), Archpriest Zoran Radovic (rector of St. George Serbian Church in Elizabeth, NJ), Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov; abbot of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ), and Protodeacons Leonid Roschko and Paul Drozdowski (cathedral clerics).
Also praying in church were Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov (dean of New Jersey) and Priest Serge Ledkovsky (deputy rector of St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ). Faithful from New York and cities across New Jersey came to pray at the service. Many communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries. The clergy and parishioners greeted one another with the joyous cries of "Christ is Risen!" one final time.
Bishop Nicholas addressed the faithful with a sermon, in which he said, in part: "Pascha – the Resurrection of Christ – must always be in our lives. And we must sincerely ask God for this, and must share the Paschal joy with all – not only in words, but with our example: firmly preaching the Orthodox Faith, ourselves believing that Christ arose, saving the whole human race, and now gives us the opportunity to transform our life and enter with Him into the Heavenly Kingdom."
His Grace noted that, on this day, the Church also honors the memory of Venerable Theodosius of the Caves – a great ascetic laborer who dedicated his entire life to the Lord God. "But not every one of us is destined to be a monk or ascetic, but each of us can life according to the Gospel. Grounding our life in the Gospel commandments, we can feel and preach that Christ is risen from the dead. Toward this end, let us read at least one page of the Gospel every day – in our homes, in the parishes. The Gospel is the living word. And this word will sanctify our souls and all of those who surround us."
Then, in keeping with the tradition in the Holy Land, the Shroud was taken out of the altar into the middle of the church for veneration by the clergy and faithful.
The cathedral sisterhood organized a luncheon in the church hall, during with the faithful had the opportunity to interact with the clergy, and spend a final day sharing in Paschal joy with one another.
Howell, NJ: Bishop Nicholas visits Eastern American Diocesan Center for Leavetaking of Pascha - 05/16/18
Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese - P. Lukianov, G. Levitsky & T. Veselkina