On September 6, the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. The cathedral clerics concelebrating with His Grace ‒ Archpriest Edward Chervinsky and Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff ‒ and parishioners honored the memories of the saints whom the Church glorifies on that day: the Holy Hieromartyr Eutyches, disciple of the Holy Apostle John the Theologian, the Holy Hierarch Peter of Moscow and the Synaxis of the Saints of Moscow. Praying in the altar at Liturgy was Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada. The choir sang under the direction of Protodeacon Vadim Gan.
The service was held under the aegis of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. A multitude of parishioners, some of whom were returning to church for the first time since various pandemic restrictions were imposed, prayed at Liturgy and communed of Christ’s Holy Gifts. The cathedral will continue to offer a live-stream of the services for those who cannot yet be present at the services themselves.
Upon completion of Liturgy, His Grace addressed the faithful with a sermon:
"Today we heard in the Gospel of Matthew the Parable of the Evil Vinedressers, which the Lord told o His disciples, and this parable is a lesson for each of us, as well. A certain householder planted a vineyard, planted a hedge around it, and let it out to husbandmen (the vinedressers, or laborers). When harvesttime drew near, the time to gather the fruits of the vineyard, the householder sent his servants to receive them. The vinedressers took some of them and beat them, while others they killed. The householder sent other servants for the harvest, but thus husbandmen killed these messengers from the householder, as well. Then the lord of the vineyard decided to send his only beloved son, whom they would have to receive. But the vinedressers reasoned otherwise: ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.’ And so they did.
"We must heed the explanation of the Holy Fathers regarding this parable. The Vineyard is the Church, and the Lord sends His chosen Israelite people to prepare it for the coming of the Savior, the Son of God. The Lord sent His servants to examine this people, to ascertain how they had understood the teachings of the Old Testament. But the emissaries were killed, and the last prophet ‒ John the Baptist ‒ was beheaded. The Israelites did not receive the Savior. People were seeking am earthly kingdom, but the Lord came to save mankind and give them the opportunity to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The earth will remain here, but man must seek first of all what is needed for his soul.
"Today we understand that the Lord established the vineyard for each fo us. The vineyard is God’s peace, the lawful Church on earth. The Lord gives each of us the opportunity to bring forth spiritual fruits, not for this world, but for God. When man lives for himself, he lives for a temporary kingdom, but man must be a worthy worker in God’s Vineyard, a worthy member of Christ’s Church."
His Grace called on the faithful to all thank God and for all things, and to cultivate the vineyard of their life, bringing forth worthy spiritual fruit, which, according to the Apostle Paul is joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
Bishop Nicholas then spoke about the upcoming travels of the Kursk Root Icon to parishes of the Diocese, and in keeping with tradition spent time interacting with parishioners.