Many parishioners ‒ both regulars and newcomers ‒ have become once more to attend the divine services at the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City, observing the required maximum attendance and safety measures after the recent quarantine. The wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God is also available for veneration by all, and the holy image was present at Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August 2, when the Holy Church honors the memory of the Holy Prophet of God Elijah. Officiating at the divine services was Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, co-served by cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer and cathedral clerics: Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, and Deacon Stefan Stoyanov. Praying at Liturgy was Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hieararch of the Russian Church Abroad.
The choir sang under the direction of Protodeacon Vadim Gan. Most of the worshippers confessed their sins and communed of Christs’ Holy Mysteries. The cathedral is continuing to conduct live-streaming online for those who are unable to come to church.
Upon completion of Liturgy, His Grace congratulated everyone present with the feast, and addressed the faithful with a sermon.
"Today the Holy Church glorifies the Prophet of God Elijah. He lived 900 years before the incarnation of the Son of God and, like the other prophets, prepared the people to meet and receive the Savior of the world: he instructed the people and called on them to remember the Divine Law. The people at the time of the Prophet Elijah had abandoned these laws, had forgotten about God and had begun worshipping idols. The saint illumined and instructed the people through prayer and fasting, and worked a great miracle: by his prayers, after three years and six months of drought, the Lord send down rain upon the earth.
"By his example, the Prophet Elijah reminded the people that there is a True God, and that He alone should be worshipped. In our time, we are offered various teachings and means by which to find spiritual rest. But man can only abide in peace and tranquility when he prays and repents. The Lord blesses such a person and sends down His aid…
"The Lord gives us everything that we need for life and for salvation. And, as we heard today in the Gospel according to Matthew, the Lord, before he fed five thousand men and as many women and children with two fishes and five loaves, went out to the people, had mercy on them, and healed them. The Lord revealed to the people His empathy and compassionate love.
"We see the same active, compassionate love being demonstrated by the Holy Grand Duchess Elizabeth and the New Martyrs of Russia to their contemporaries, as they showed true compassion toward the Russian people. We are all in need of support, and we must ourselves understand how important our support is to others in their time of need."
His Grace called on the faithful to follow the words of the Prophet Elijah and worship God alone, to be compassionate to our neighbors, and to ourselves await from the hand of God all that is necessary for our salvation.
Bishop Nicholas also spoke about the feast days that would take place during the coming week, and then, in keeping with tradition, interacted with parishioners.