On Thursday the 8th and Friday the 9th of August, Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, WV celebrated the feast day of its patron, the Holy Great-Martyr and Healer Panteleimon. His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop of Nicholas of Manhattan, arrived on Tuesday, August 6, in order to spend several days visiting with the brotherhood before the feast. On Wednesday evening, he led a synaxis, relating to the community some of the spiritual experiences he had while on pilgrimage in Russia.
On Thursday morning, His Grace served a moleben beseeching God’s blessing for the beginning of work on the new church construction project. Within the next several weeks, the architect will be making his second visit to refine the building plans, and contractors will also be arriving to rebuild and reinforce the retaining wall above the site of the future church.
On Thursday evening, the All-Night Vigil for St. Panteleimon was served in the monastery church. Bishop Nicholas led the service, co-served by Archimandrite Seraphim (Voepel; monastery abbot) and the monastery clergy, as well as Priests Jonah Campbell (rector of Christ the Savior Church in Wayne) and Demetrio Romeo (rector of St. Luke the Blessed Church in Coconut Creek, FL). Vigil included the Litia, as well as the singing of the akathist to St. Panteleimon following the magnification. After Vigil, Bishop Nicholas tonsured Novices Reader John (Williamson) and Ephraim (Scafidi) as rassaphore-monks, charging them to take heed to the Gospel commandment to deny oneself, take up one’s cross, and follow Christ. Br. John received the new name Fr. Damascene, while Br. Ephraim retained his former name and will be known as Fr. Ephraim until such time as God allows them to take the Lesser Schema.
On Friday morning, the Lesser Blessing of Water was performed prior to the hierarchal Divine Liturgy. Joining the clergy from the prior night was Archpriest John Dixon (rector of Holy Spirit Antiochian Church in Huntington, WV). Upon conclusion of Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas delivered an inspiring sermon on the life of St. Panteleimon and the need to approach the Holy Mysteries not casually, but with fear and trembling and gratitude.
Following the dismissal, a festal moleben was served to St. Panteleimon, during which the many names submitted by the faithful were commemorated, beseeching the Heavenly aid of the Holy Great-Martyr for their lives. The Panagia service followed, with the brotherhood and visitors processing together to the refectory for the festal meal.