On Saturday, May 25, the first anniversary of the repose of the Eastern American Diocese’s eldest cleric, Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, celebrated the Liturgy for the Departed in St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ, co-served by Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada.
Concelebrating with the hierarchs were:
- Archpriest Mark Shinn (rector of St. Andrew Naval Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA)
- Archpriest Serge Lukianov (cathedral rector)
- Archpriest Zoran Radovic (rector of St. George Serbian Church in Elizabeth, NJ)
- Archpriest Rafael Melendez (cathedral cleric)
- Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov; cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City)
- Archpriest Boris Slootsky (cathedral cleric)
- Archpriest Paul Ivanov (rector of Holy Myrrhbearers Church in Brooklyn, NY)
- Archpriest Seraphim Chemodakov (cathedral cleric)
- Archpriest James Dougherty (diocesan cleric)
- Archpriest Dimitri Jakimowicz (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stratford, CT)
- Archpriest Serge Ledkovsky (deputy rector of St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ)
- Abbot Tikhon (Gayfudinov; rector of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ)
- Priest Gregory Winsky (rector of St. Michael Church in Philadelphia)
- Priest George Temidis (rector of the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY)
- Priest George Kaplanov (cathedral cleric)
- Protodeacon Nicholas Lukianov (cathedral cleric)
- Protodeacon Paul Drozdowski (cathedral cleric)
- Deacon Alexis Golubov (cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral)
- Deacon Michael Pavuk (cleric of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA), and
- Deacon Rostislav Wojtenko (cleric of St. Vladimir Memorial Church).
A multitude of Fr. Valery’s spiritual children gathered to honor the priest’s memory, along with parishioners and faithful from other churches in New Jersey and nearby, his friends and relatives. Singing at the divine services was an expanded parish choir.
Upon completion of Liturgy, the clergy and faithful went in procession to Fr. Valery’s gravesite, located behind the altar of the cathedral he had constructed, where he served and preached until virtually the last day of his life. Metropolitan Hilarion served a panihida for the repose of Fr. Valery’s soul, after which Archbishop Gabriel shared warm memories of Fr. Valery. Fr. Serge Lukianov reminded the worshippers about Fr. Valery’s words, which may be his true spiritual testament: rejoice always, pray constantly, and at all times and for all things give thanks.
The clergy, parishioners, and guests were then invited to a memorial repast, during which a film about Fr. Valery was shown. This film is the first prepared by the Fund for Assistance to ROCOR. Currently, the Fund, in the person of Fr. Valery’s grandson, Subdeacon Peter Lukianov, is working on a series of videos of the final sermons delivered by Fr. Valery during his earthly life.
That same day, a portrait of Fr. Valery was unveiled, which had been donated to the cathedral by relatives of the former rector. Also presented was a portrait of Archbishop Gabriel, which will be placed in the cathedral hall next to other portraits of hierarchs of the Russian Church and the Church Abroad.