On Wednesday, August 19, the great feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York celebrated Divine Liturgy ‒ and officiated the All-Night Vigil the evening prior ‒ 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, Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin), as well as Deacon Nenad Flora (cleric of the Mission in the Dominican Republic).
Liturgy was held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora ‒ the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. The choir sang under the direction of Protodeacon Vadim Gan. Cathedral parishioners gathered to pray on the day of the great feast and before the wonderworking icon of the Theotokos. Most confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Fr. Andrei Sommer addressed the faithful with a sermon and spoke about the history of the feast. He said, in part:
"Today’s feast reminds us of the significance of our own personal transfiguration: how each one of us must become a new man. We are living in a complex time in the history of the world. We just underwent a quarantine, practically a shutdown of civilization, and are continuing to live under various restrictions. We see how people are suffering. It is hard for us to accept and understand this. We have a difficult road ahead, and this forces us to consider our own sins and sinful habits, and through particular struggle to walk a new path of self-perfection.
"Today you brought fruits to be blessed. These fruits symbolize new life: the trees survived a cold winter and period of darkness at the start of spring, and now they have come alive and bring good fruit. So also does the Lord wait for the good fruits of our souls also, that we not be like the withered fig tree, but bring a harvest of the good fruits of repentance, longsuffering, and love."
Metropolitan Hilarion blessed the fruit baskets and greeted the clergy and faithful with the great feast. In the cathedral hall, a festal luncheon was prepared for all, during which parishioners interacted with the clergy and one another.