On Thursday, November 14, the feast day of the Holy Unmercenaries and Wonderworkers Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan paid an archpastoral visit to the eponymous church in Passaic, NJ, where he led the parish’s patronal feast day.
Concelebrating with His Grace at Liturgy were: Archpriests George Konyev (rector of Three Saints Church in Garfield, NJ) and Serge Lukianov (dean of New Jersey), Abbots Vladimir (Zgoba; rector of Our Lady "Unexpected Joy" Church in Staten Island, NY) and Nicodemus (Balyasnikov; cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City), Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of Long Island & the Hudson Valley), Abbots Arseny (Manko; parish rector) and Tikhon (Gayfudinov; rector of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ; assistant to the First Hierarch of ROCOR), Priests Stephen Kaznica (rector of Sts. Peter & Paul Church in Passaic), Mark Rashkov (cleric of St. Nicholas Cathedral), and George Temidis (rector of Nativity of the Mother of God Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY), Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), and Deacon Pavel Roudenko (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City).
Also in attendance to congratulate the rector and parishioners were Archpriest Mark Burachek (rector of Our Lady of Kazan Church in Newark, NJ) and Abbot Eutychius (Dovgan; cleric of the Synodal Cathedral).
Upon completion of the service, Bishop Nicholas congratulated those present on the occasion of the feast, relayed a blessing from Metropolitan Hilarion and, speaking of the example set by Sts. Cosmas and Damian, said, in part:
"The holy wonderworkers freely gave everything that they had freely received: they prayed for the sick, healed them, and did everything with love in the name of the Most Holy Trinity. We also have freely received everything from above, from the Lord: our life, our sight, our opportunity to live on the earth, to glorify God, to rejoice, to sorrow, to repent. It is up to us how we use the talents given to us by God. We can live on this earth, rejoice, and then – leave. But we can also approach everything and everybody with love: God, our neighbors, our enemies, and thank God for giving us these feelings and the opportunity to correct our spiritual life. We can come to this church and pray and know that we are not alone: the Lord is with us, as are our helpers and intercessors. And so, let us glorify God together in this church.
Fr. Arseny thanked His Grace for his kind words, and spoke about the parish’s upcoming plans. Fr. Vladimir (Zgoba) presented Fr. Arseny with a set of white and red priest’s vestments.
Everyone then gathered in the church refectory, where the sisterhood prepared a bountiful festal luncheon, during which the interaction of the clergy, parishioners, and guests continued.