This past week, to the joy of the clergy and faithful, the divine services continued to be performed at the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City in the presence of parishioners, after a lengthy period of suspension. On Saturday, July 4, the clergy and parishioners honored the memory of the Holy Hierarch John of Shanghai & San Francisco with the celebration of Divine Liturgy in St. Sergius Chapel at the Synodal Headquarters.
Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Ion Arama (rector of Holy Annunciation Church in Flushing, NY), and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric).
On July 5, the 4th Sunday after Pentecost, and the date when the Holy Church honors the memory of the Holy Hieromartyr Eusebius of Samosata, Bishop Nicholas celebrated Divine Liturgy. Concelebrating with His Grace were cathedral clerics: Fr. Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, and Fr. Panteleimon. Metropolitan Hilarion and Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada prayed in the altar.
The service was held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora ‒ the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. The choir sang beautifully under the direction of Protodeacon Vadim Gan. A multitude of parishioners prayed at Liturgy, observing the established pandemic requirements, and most of them communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries. For those who were not able to come to church, the cathedral continued to live-stream the services online.
Upon completion of Liturgy, His Grace addressed the faithful with a sermon, in which he said, in part:
"Today we heard in the Gospel of Matthew about a pagan centurion, who asked Christ to heal his servant, a young man. For us, this is an example of love and care for a someone else, as we were commanded to do by Jesus Christ. The Lord answered him, that He would come and heal his servant, and hears an unexpected reply: ‘I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and ‒ I believe ‒ my servant shall be healed.’ And the Lord said that He had not found so great a faith in Israel.
"We, Orthodox Christians, often do not demonstrate our faith so firmly ‒ we doubt, we fear fully relying on God. But just as the Lord healed the young man with a single word, so He also can save us with a single word.
"Today we have a wonderful example of just this ‒ the glorified Hieromartyr Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata. He lived in the 4th century, and he and his flock firmly believed and did not betray their faith. Rules changed, and some, like Julian the Apostate, deposed Eusebius and exiled him from the city, while others restored Eusebius and other faithful bishops to their sees. And throughout all these years, Eusebius did not lose faith or hope, and preached Christ. And the Lord glorified him.
"So must we also, in every circumstance, not lose our faith, but instead turn to Christ, thanking Him for the opportunity to confess our sins, to pray before the holy icons and relics and ask healing of soul and body. And we will see the miracles that the Lord performs in us."
Bishop Nicholas also congratulated Archbishop Gabriel, who the coming Tuesday, on the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner, would be celebrating the anniversary of his hierarchal consecration. He then spent the time interacting with parishioners as per custom.