On May 26, the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York celebrated Divine Liturgy in St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ, co-served by Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada.
Concelebrating with the hierarchs were: Archpriests Serge Lukianov (cathedral rector), George Lapardin (dean of Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral in Strathfield, Australia), Rafael Melendez, Boris Slootsky, and Seraphim Chemodakov and Priest George Kaplanov (cathedral clerics), and Protodeacons Eugene Kallaur (cleric of St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY) and Paul Drozdowski (cathedral cleric).
A multitude of cathedral parishioners and faithful from nearby cities prayed at the service, many of whom communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of the service, Archbishop Gabriel delivered a sermon to the faithful on the Gospel reading of the day. His Eminence said, in part:
"In the waning days of Holy Pascha, the Church draws our attention to the image of holy [living] water – the source of eternal life, which is Christ Himself. In today’s Gospel reading, we heard how the Lord converses with the Samaritan woman, and how she, through her interaction with the Savior, is convinced that He is the true Messiah, awaited not only by the Jews, but also by the Samaritans.
"The Lord approaches the well as His disciples depart, and the Samaritan woman approaches, as well. He addresses her and asks her to give Him water. The Samaritan woman was astonished, because Jews at that time hated the Samaritans, and did not interact with them. Christ, however, began a conversation with her about water and about eternal life, and said that if she were to drink of the water that He will give her, then she will never thirst again. She was thinking of the water in the well, but the Lord was speaking to her about living water, about Himself, as the source of this water, which leads to eternal life."
Archbishop Gabriel noted that, if a person will think only of earthly things, live according to the passions, and strive to obtain only earthly riches, then he will never receive spiritual fulfillment. He called on the faithful to strive for that ‘living water’ – for the Lord, to participate in the Church Sacraments, and to remember the Paschal joy that the Lord gives us in these days, and which man will experience in the Heavenly Kingdom, which every one of us must seek.
At the kissing of the cross, Metropolitan Hilarion presented prosphora to all of the Svetlanas, who on this day celebrate their namesday (the name of the Samaritan woman was Photini, which in the Slavic languages is rendered as Svetlana). The parish sisterhood prepared a luncheon for the clergy and faithful in the church hall.
Howell, NJ: Hierarchal Liturgy in St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral - 05/26/19