The Paschal divine services continue at the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. On May 17, the 5th Sunday of Holy Pascha, of the Samaritan Woman, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer and Deacons Nicholas Ilyin (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo") and Stefan Stoyanov (cathedral cleric). Praying at the service were Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, and Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada.
Upon completion of Liturgy, His Grace congratulated the clergy and the faithful watching the divine services via live-stream with the ongoing Paschal days, and addressed them with a sermon on the subject of the feast:
"The Lord revealed a great mystery to the Samaritan woman ‒ that from Him flows grace that saves all mankind. And we also must ask God His blessing, that He send down on us His grace; we must strive to always have this marvelous conversation with the Lord. We read about this conversation today in the Gospel of John. And how do we hold this conversation? The Apostle Paul says: ‘Take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.’ Our prayer is our conversation with God, it is deliverance from a life of sin and from bad habits. That is the kind of conversation we must have with the Lord ‒ unceasing prayer, asking His blessing, and hoping for God’s grace, that we might be cleansed and become new and radiant people.”
His Grace called on the faithful to augment their prayers in these days especially, asking for forgiveness of sins and rejoicing that we have this conversation with God, regardless where we happen to be located ‒ in church or at home ‒ and awaiting the time when we can once again pray and attend God’s church, where we can both save our own souls and help others to grow strong in the Faith.
The diocesan vicar reminded those listening that it was on this day, May 17, 13 years ago, that the reconciliation too place between the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church, when our fathers ‒ the great men of prayer Patriarch Alexis II and Metropolitan Laurus ‒ were able to make the Russian Church whole once more, showing us all an example of humility and forgiveness.
Bishop Nicholas congratulated those celebrating their namesday in these days ‒ those named Svetlana (Photini), Tamara, and Irene ‒ as well as diocesan cleric Abbot Eutychius (Dovgan), who on this day marked the 20th anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate. The deacon intoned "Many Years" for Fr. Eutychius and the namesday celebrants.