On Sunday, October 13, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Concelebrating with His Eminence were: Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, and Protodeacons Nicolas Mokhoff and Vadim Gan (cathedral clerics). The choir sang the divine services under the direction of Matushka Eugenia Temidis.
The evening prior, after lengthy travels abroad, the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God returned to its "Home," to the joy of the clergy and faithful.
The church was filled with worshippers, who came to pray at the service and to welcome back – after its lengthy absence – the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, and to congratulated longtime cathedral senior priest Fr. Andrei Sommer on the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Most of the faithful communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of the service, Bishop Nicholas congratulated those present of the occasion of the Resurrectional feast (Sunday), and expressed his joy at the presence of the great holy Kursk Root Icon at Liturgy.
"This is a marvelous wonder in our time: for more than 100 years, this holy icon has been defending, protecting, and saving all of Diasporan Rus’, and today – the whole Orthodox world. For more than 60 years, the icon has resided in its "Home" – the Cathedral of the Sign, but today it also fulfills its spiritual mission – regularly traveling and comforting people all around the world. This year, the icon traveled more than usual: during Great Lent, it visited England; after Pascha, the Canadian Diocese and then California; in September, the city of Saratov and Central Asia: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan; later, the Kursk Metropolitanate and, further, Kazakhstan, where for two weeks the people rejoiced, finding themselves under the omophorion of the Mother of God."
Bishop Nicholas relayed words of gratitude to Metropolitan Hilarion for giving his blessing for the icon to visit all of these dioceses.
In response, Metropolitan Hilarion thanked Bishop Nicholas for his labors in accompanying the icon, and for his warm words, saying, "Today we offer up words of joy for the return of this holy icon to the Cathedral of the Sign, and rejoice for the Orthodox people who had the opportunity to pray before it; we pray that the Lord always protect this icon of the Mother of God, which through the prayers offered before it brings aid to us all."
His Eminence congratulated Fr. Andrei Sommer on the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, wishing him good health and many years of service to the Holy Church. The Metropolitan presented Fr. Andrei with an icon of the Holy Hierarch John of Shanghai & San Francisco, which was painted and blessed in Kursk. On it, St. John is depicted holding the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, before which he peacefully reposed in the Lord.
After Liturgy, a reception was held in the cathedral hall in honor of Fr. Andrei’s jubilee, during which he spoke about the years of his service. Clergy and parishioners offered many warm words to the cathedral dean.