On Tuesday, December 22, the feast day of the icon of the Mother of God "Unexpected Joy," Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan paid an archpastoral visit to the church of the same name in Staten Island, NY, where he celebrated Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the parish’s patronal feast day. His Grace arrived with the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora ‒ the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, before which many of the faithful prayed, having gathered at Liturgy and in keeping with the established municipal pandemic restrictions.
Parish rector Abbot Vladimir (Zgoba) greeted Bishop Nicholas. Also concelebrating with His Grace at Liturgy were: Archpriest Serge Lukianov (dean of New Jersey), Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of New York City, Long Island & the Hudson Valley), Archpriest Nikolai Gulin (cleric of the Orthodox Church in America), Priest Anthony Williams (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ), and Protodeacon Eugene Kallaur (cleric of St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY). Most of the parishioners confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of the service, Bishop Nicholas greeted those gathered with the feast, spoke about its history, and noted that, during this troubled time, the Mother of God, in her Kursk Icon, consoles the faithful in the parishes and monasteries of America while travels abroad are restricted.
The rector thanked His Grace for his archpastoral visit, shared prayer, and opportunity to pray under the aegis of the wonderworking image, and also thanked the clergy who came to pray and share in the joy of the feast.
After Liturgy, the faithful had time to pray before the holy icon while it remained for some time in the church.