Divine services for the first week of Great Lent were held in churches of the Russian Church Abroad in New York City. On the first days of the week, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada, and Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan led the reading of the Great Penitential Canon of St. Andrew of Crete in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign. On Clean Monday, March 15, His Grace, Bishop Nicholas visited Holy Father Church in New York City, the episcopal see of the Bishop of Manhattan, with the Kursk Root Icon, where he led the reading of the Penitential Canon.
On Saturday, March 20, the feast day of the Holy Great-Martyr Theodore Tyro, Bishop Nicholas celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Sign, co-served by Archimandrite Maximos (Weimar; abbot of St. Dionysios the Areopagite Monastery in St. James, NY), cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Abbots Zosimas (Krampis) and Silouan (Justiniano; clerics of St. Dionysios Monastery), Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral cleric), Deacon Nicholas Ilyin (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), and Deacon Justinian Burnett (cleric of St. John Cassian Chapel in Bessemer, AL). At the service, His Grace ordained Deacon Justinian to the priesthood.
Bishop Nicholas congratulated Fr. Justinian, noting that the grace at that day’s service was multiplied by the grace of the Sacrament of priestly ordination that had taken place, and which all those in attendance at Liturgy had been able to witness. He wished the newly ordained priest and his flock in Alabama strength, love, peace, and everything needed to preach the Word of God on the path to salvation, and that his flock might grow great in number and strong in spirit.
On March 21, the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, as well as the day when the Holy Church celebrates the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, Archbishop Gabriel celebrated Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral, co-served by Bishop Nicholas. Concelebrating with the hierarchs were Fr. Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, Fr. Nicolas Mokhoff, and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; cathedral clerics), and Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Novo-Diveevo Convent). The Synodal choir sang beautifully under the direction of conductor Vadim S. Gan.
A multitude of parishioners prayed at the service, most of whom confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries at the conclusion of the first week of Great Lent.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Archbishop Gabriel delivered a sermon on the subject of the feast, in which he, in part, asked the faithful: do those who call themselves Orthodox Christians live according to the commandments that the Lord established and that help us save our souls for eternity?
His Eminence called on them to make use of the time of Great Lent for the benefit of their souls, remembering that the fast is not only about abstaining from certain foods; it is also a time that should be accompanied by repentance, good deeds, almsgiving, fervent prayer, and the reading of spiritual literature.
The Rite of Orthodoxy was then performed.