On Saturday, August 24, Their Graces, Bishops Pachomius of Pokrovsk & Nikolaevsk and Nicholas of Manhattan, concelebrated a Baptismal Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Diocesan Cathedral in the city of Pokrovsk (known since 1931 as "Engels"). Thirteen people were baptized and partook of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
"Today’s service is a special joy for us, because Vladyka Nicholas is visiting us. He came to Russia from America, being the guardian of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, which is currently visiting Saratov. The Lord, as He ascended to the heavens, said: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28:19). The Apostles went to enlighten the world, and thousands received Baptism. You, Vladyka, being a faithful son of the Russian Church Abroad, like an apostle, bear the Faith there, in the American land. That is why I think it is no coincidence that the Lord has led you to be present at this Liturgy, during which the Church acquired new Christians. I thank you for finding the time to visit the Diocese of Pokrovsk and share with us the joy of prayer. I wish you divine aid and strength in your service." said Bishop Pachomius upon completion of Liturgy.
In response, Bishop Nicholas thanked Bishop Pachomius and all in attendance, noting: "Today’s service is a great mercy from God for me and my fellow-travelers. We became witnesses of new Christians joining the Church and the resurrection of an ancient tradition. I think that in such moments, many remember their own baptisms, or when they first came to God. We all receive the Sacrament of Chrismation during our baptism, the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. It happens, though, that we sin and move away from this grace. So it is during such days as today that we must remember that we are called upon to serve God, the Resurrected Savior. Thank you, Vladyka, for this remarkable divine service and your kind words. I will never forget this service. We live in different parts of the world, but I think that in our hearts and souls we will always be together, for we are united by the Lord," said Vladyka Nicholas.
As a memento for the occasion, he gave Bishop Pachomius an icon of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, and to parishioners paper icons blessed on the ancient Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. In turn, Bishop Pachomius gave Vladyka Nicholas an icon of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.
Bishop Nicholas congratulated the newly baptized on their entry into the Church and offered his blessing. They were then giving certificates of baptism and copies of the New Testament and prayer books.
The new Christians also remarked on how important this day was for them: "There is a lightness and peace in my soul, joy that now I am a part of the Church," said Svetlana Kolosovskaya. "I am very happy that I have acquired God and new brothers and sisters in spirit," said her brother Alexander. Nadezhda Sagandykova noted that in her approaching God and uniting with Him, she obtained hope for His aid. Vladimir Vdalov long prepared for this day. He read the Gospel and the Holy Fathers, made pilgrimages to the holy sites. Now he says that he feels genuine spiritual joy: "My soul is simply soaring. I thank God that He called me and accepted me."