On December 20, the 28th Sunday after Pentecost and the feast day of the Holy Hierarch Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada celebrated Divine Liturgy 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, and Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, as well as Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY). Praying in the altar was Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch fo the Russian Church Abroad.
The choir sang beautifully and prayerfully under the direction of Vadim S. Gan. A large number of parishioners prayed at the service, most of whom communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Archbishop Gabriel addressed the faithful with a sermon on the Gospel reading of the day, regarding the Savior’s healing of the ten lepers.
His Eminence reminded parishioners how the Savior told the lepers to go and show themselves to the priest, that he might bear witness that they were healthy ‒ healed ‒ and no longer a danger to society. But only one of the ten ‒ a Samaritan ‒ returned to the Savior to thank Him. "Where are the rest?" Christ asks.
"This is a lesson for us ‒ to thank God for all of His mercies ‒ as well as of the necessity of coming first to the priests, to the Church, when someone falls ill, as was once the practice. Then, later, go with God to the doctors. The Church has special prayers and molebens for this, and these should not be forgotten ‒ this is an expression of the piety of the Orthodox.
"We know that the most important thing and most precious thing for God is when man strives to live unto the salvation of his soul, unto the fulfillment of that which the Lord came to accomplish."
Speaking about the approaching Nativity of Christ, Archbishop Gabriel called on the faithful to prepare themselves for the radiant feast with repentance, confession, and communion of Christ’s Holy Mysteries, in so doing glorifying the works of compassion wrought by Christ the Savior, Who came into the world to save mankind.