On Tuesday, July 17, the feast day of the Holy Royal Passionbearers, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City, co-served by Archpriest Alexander Belya (dean of New York City), Archimandrite Yelevferiy (Skiba; rector of Our Lady "The Inexhaustible Chalice" Church in Brooklyn, NY), Abbot Vladimir (Zgoba; rector of Our Lady "Unexpected Joy" Church on Staten Island, NY), Archpriest Edward Chervinsky (cathedral cleric), Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov; abbot of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ), and cathedral Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff.
Singing at the divine service was the Synodal choir, under the direction of conductor Peter Fekula. Praying in church were parishioners and faithful of various parishes, representatives of the Romanov family, and Cossack delegates.
Upon completion of the service, Fr. Tikhon read aloud Metropolitan Hilarion’s Epistle on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the martyrdom of the holy and right-believing Royal Passionbearers.
His Eminence and the clergy served a short moleben before icons of the Royal Passionbearers and other holy relics housed at the Synodal cathedral: a reliquary with the right hand of the Holy Nun-Martyrs Elizabeth and Barbara. Metropolitan Hilarion then thanked all those who prayerfully honored this day with their presence, and gave the floor to the general director of the Russian National Creative Workshop "Art-Project," LLC, and the International Foundation for Mutual Development & Strengthening of Spiritual Unity and the Religious & Historical Values of Russian Orthodoxy in the Homeland & Abroad "Under the Protection of the Theotokos," Eugene (Evgeny) Korolev. It was these organizations that presented the cathedral a gift: a bust of the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II. The first such bust was installed in Melbourne, Australia.
"This image was first made before the revolution, out of stone. During Perestroika in the Soviet Union, vandals desecrated it," Korolev explained. "After the fall of the USSR, in 1993, the bust was brought from Crimea to Moscow, to the workshop of Russian national artist Vyacheslav Klykov. They created a mold of the bust and poured it in bronze. Unfortunately, we do not know the identity of the original artist who created this marvelous work. But we do know that this monument is considered the most faithful to the likeness of Emperor Nicholas II. I would like to offer my respect to Vyacheslav M. Klykov for granting new life to this work of art.
"In Russia they are currently celebrating the ‘royal days,’ and I think the most important thing for us is to learn lessons from this tragedy and never repeat them."
Korolev congratulated everyone on the occasion of the feast, and presented Metropolitan Hilarion with a dove prepared in the workshop, as well as pouches with soil from the holy sites of Yekaterinburg, where Emperor Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, and their children were held captive, and where they were all murdered.
For his work with the Cossacks, Eugene Korolev presented Fr. Tikhon with the Order of Emperor Nicholas the Second.
Flanked by clergy, the First Hierarch proceeded to the entrance to the cathedral, where the bust of the Tsar-Passionbearer Nicholas II had been installed, and blessed it.
The festivities concluded with a banquet in the cathedral hall.
New York City: Metropolitan Hilarion blesses Bust of Tsar-Passionbearer Nicholas II at Synodal Headquarters - 07/17/18
Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese - T. Veselkina