On Sunday, December 8 - the Leavetaking of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple – Archbishop Mark of Berlin & Germany celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City, co-served by Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada and Bishop Irenei of London & Western Europe. Concelebrating with the hierarchs were: cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky (cathedral cleric), Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of Long Island & the Hudson Valley), Archdeacon Peter (Karakozoff; cleric of the Western American Diocese), Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral cleric), and visiting clergy. Praying in the altar was Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco & Western America.
A multitude of parishioners gathered in church to pray at Liturgy, most of whom communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of the service, Archbishop Mark addressed those gathered with a sermon, in which he spoke about how to live a truly Christian life.
"The Lord Himself said that men would know that ye are His disciples, if you will have love one to another. But alas, often we have to ask where this love went, how it vanished from our sight; where are we hiding our humility, love for our neighbor and – most importantly – for God?
"Love is a divine quality that we are given in baptism for our entire life. But over and over, we fall into sin. Love unites us to God and man, while sin divides us from our own selves first and foremost. When we give ourselves over to sin, everything in us is torn, smashed apart – the unity that God placed within us is shattered, and we stand before the shards of our heart, of our soul. Just shards – but the person is gone. He has vanished. He has destroyed himself… We are not accustomed to delving into our soul, into our heart. What is taking place there? Is Christ within? It is only in Christ that we can be one whole. One Christ, one Faith, one Baptism, one Gospel, one Church. The Church is the Body of Christ, and we cannot dare to divide it: not in ourselves, not in others. There is one Body and one Christ. So preaches the Apostle Paul, so we believe, when we read daily the Symbol of Faith: I believe in one Orthodox Church. This is the foundation of our Faith.
"…Unity grows out of love for Christ, and from that love flows love for our neighbor. This is all one living body, a single organism, which gives us life and meaning to that life, and in which there is no doubt, no division, no disagreement, but one faith in Christ and of Christ."
His Eminence reminded the faithful that, in order to live in Christ, we must labor spiritually and acquire humility and love; he called on them to build their Christian life upon love, for only thus can it be true and directed toward Christ and eternity.
Upon completion of Liturgy, the sisterhood prepared a luncheon in the cathedral hall for the clergy and parishioners, during which their interaction continued.