On February 23, the Sunday of Meatfare and commemoration of the Dread Judgment, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Concelebrating with His Eminence were cathedral clerics: dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, and Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, as well as Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY).
The service was held under the aegis of the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. In the days preceding Great Lent, many confessed and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of the service, Metropolitan Hilarion reminded the faithful of the coming Great Fast, and said, in part:
"In these preparatory weeks, the Holy Church calls on us to spiritually prepare for Great Lent, following the example first of the Publican and the Pharisee. In relating their story, the Gospel teaches us to pray humbly, like the Publican, and not to exalt ourselves, as did the Pharisee in the Temple; to ask forgiveness from the Lord God for our sins and iniquities. The Gospel reading on the Prodigal Son shows us that, no matter what sin we might have committed, if we have repentance and a desire to correct ourselves, then the Lord will forgive us every transgression.
"Today’s Gospel reading offers a more powerful description of the last times on earth, when terrible events will come to pass, and suddenly our Lord Jesus Christ Himself will appear ‒ in glory, with the Angels, and the Dread Judgment will take place, where our future will be decided. The Lord will gather the people and divide humanity; those who performed good works the Lord will invite into His Kingdom, while those who worked iniquity will be condemned to eternal sufferings, because separation from God will become a great torment. That is why the Holy Church teaches us to realize our sins and genuinely repent for them."
His Eminence called on the faithful to consider their lives over the course of Great Lent, to repent and receive forgiveness, that they might at every moment be prepared to meet the Lord.
Metropolitan Hilarion then served a Litia for the Departed for long-time cathedral warden Prince Vladimir Kirillovich Galitzine and Monk Joseph (who for many years labored as the reader, translator, and hymnographer Isaac Lambertsen).
The sisterhood prepared a memorial luncheon in the cathedral hall.