St. Nicholas Church in Stratford, CT, celebrated the 90th anniversary of its founding. Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, paid an archpastoral visit to the church in honor of the jubilee. He was joined by Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan.
St. Nicholas Church was founded in 1929 by Russian émigrés, many of whom worked in Sikorsky’s aircraft manufacturing plant. Igor Sikorsky himself played a significant role in founding the parish, joined by a group of partners, among whom were the future founder of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY – Archimandrite Panteleimon (Nikhnik) – and Archimandrite Joseph (at that time – the chanter Ivan Kolos). They both, in order to collect the funds needed to buy land for the future monastery, worked "at Sikorsky’s." Today, parishioners of the church include Russian-Americans of the "old́" emigration and more recent émigré arrivals, as well as Orthodox Christians with no Russian background.
On Saturday, October 19, Metropolitan Hilarion led the All-Night Vigil, co-served by Bishop Nicholas, parish rector Archpriest Dimitri Jakimowicz, and visiting clergy: Archpriests Serge Lukianov (dean of New Jersey), Dionisy Nalitov (rector of St. Panteleimon Church in Hartford, CT), and Constantine Semyanko (rector of neighboring Presentation of Christ Church in Stratford), Priest Vadim Pismenny (cleric of St. Sergius Church in Golyanovo, Moscow), Protodeacon Paul Giatas (parish cleric), Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky and Deacon Nicholas Ilyin (clerics of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), Deacon Alexey Pnev (cleric of Nativity of the Mother of God Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY), and Deacon Eugene Utnyukhin (cleric of St. Panteleimon Church).
The All-Night Vigil the eve prior and Divine Liturgy on the day of the feast were served under the aegis of two great holy icons of the Russian Diaspora – the wonderworking Kursk Root and myrrh-streaming Hawaiian Iveron Icons of the Mother of God.
On Sunday, October 20, Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated the festal Liturgy. Concelebrating with the First Hierarch were Bishop Nicholas, Frs. Serge Lukianov and Dimitri Jakimowicz, Priest George Temidis (rector of Nativity of the Mother of God Church in Mahopac), and Frs. Paul Giatas, Serge Arlievsky, Nicholas Ilyin, and Alexey Pnev, as well as Deacon Nectarios Yangson (cleric of the Western American Diocese, guardian of the Hawaiian Icon).
Protodeacon Paul Giatas (parish cleric), Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky and Deacon Nicholas Ilyin (clerics of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), Deacon Alexey Pnev (cleric of Nativity of the Mother of God Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY), and Deacon Eugene Utnyukhin (cleric of St. Panteleimon Church).
Prior to the beginning of the service, Metropolitan Hilarion tonsured parish altar server Yevgraf Jakimowicz a reader, and long-time Reader David Dutkanicz was ordained a subdeacon.
At the Little Entrance, for his dedicated service to the Holy Church, Fr. Dimitri Jakimowicz was awarded the right to wear the palitsa.
A multitude of parishioners and faithful from neighboring states prayed at Liturgy. A majority of these communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of the service, Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated the clergy and faithful with the feast, and noted the spiritual joy resulting from the presence at the divine services of two wonderworking icons, by the prayers before which many receive healing, divine aid, and consolation. His Eminence also recognized the founder and builders of this marvelous church, who donated their resources and time to see it built and adorned, and noted the church’s spiritual connection to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville.
In response, the rector thanked the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful for their visit and joint prayers.
For their tireless labors on behalf of the parish, head sister Maria Peavy and spouses Peter D. & Anna I. Dutkanicz were presented diocesan gramotas.
Afterward, a large banquet was organized for the clergy, parishioners, and guests, during which a remarkable music and dance program was presented, featuring professional musicians, dancer, and parish dance troupes.