On January 3, the Sunday before Nativity, of the Holy Fathers, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Concelebrating with His Grace were cathedral clerics Archpriest Edward Chervinsky and Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, as well as Deacon Nicholas Ilyin (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY). Praying in the altar was Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada heard parishioners’ confessions.
The service was held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora ‒ the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. The Synodal choir sang wonderfully under the direction of conductor Vadim S. Gan.
On the first Sunday of the new year, parishioners gathered in the cathedral to pray at Liturgy. Most confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, His Grace addressed the faithful with a sermon, in which he said, in part:
"Today we heard the "generation," the genealogy of our Savior Jesus Christ ‒ not in full, not from Adam, but from Abraham, from David, from the carrying away in Babylon, and to Joseph the Betrothed and the Virgin Mary, from whom was born Jesus, Who is called Christ. We heard the names of various people, saints ‒ both men and women. Some of them lived pious lives, while others did not, and later repented. Let us remember, for instance, the Prophet David and his penitential Psalm 50. This is an example for us, and a summons to be with Christ. But the Lord was born not for one man, but for all, and we are all invited to glorify Him here on earth, as well as in eternity in the Heavenly Kingdom."
Bishop Nicholas also noted that our saints serve as an example for us. "Today we remember the Holy Martyr Juliana, a young virgin who accepted her martyric death as a special crown; she confessed Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, and more than 500 men and 130 women suffered with her, having beheld the faith of this pure girl and been baptized in their own blood, becoming martyrs. This is but one example for us, of how we can love the Lord and learn to believe with all our heart, fearing nothing, firmly confessing the Lord in our prayers and in our life."
His Grace added that, having become man, the Lord in turn deified us, and gave us life, breath, comeliness, which today, sadly, are being distorted.
"There is a special rule, a special tradition, regarding how men must comport themselves and how women must adorn themselves: how to speak, how to observe and keep these pure, wonderful, and feminine traditions. All of this was established by the Lord God. Man always tries to change or do away with these, and the result is chaos. Let us be vigilant, let us observe the rules established by the Holy Church, let us follow those examples and lessons given to us by the Lord and the saints, and relay these traditions to those around us. Thus will we be saved ourselves, and will save those near to us. Let us remember also those who gave us the Faith, pray for them, and all be one in Christ the Lord our God."