On March 28, the Second Sunday of Great Lent, dedicated to the Holy Hierarch Gregory Palamas, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad were cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; cathedral clerics), as well as Deacon Nicholas Ilyin (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY). The Synodal choir sang prayerfully under the direction of conductor Vadim S. Gan.
Many of the parishioners who gathered for the service confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Fr. Andrei Sommer delivered a sermon to the faithful on the day’s Gospel reading, noting that "sin, sickness, and suffering are closely connected to one another." "In order to be healed, we must first be cleansed of our sins and rid ourselves of the passions, our bad habits, which infect our soul; then will our body be healed, as well.
"In today’s Gospel reading, we heard how the friends of a sick man were unable to get him to the Savior, and they had to climb up on the roof, dismantle it, and lower their ailing friend to Christ’s feet. They did care about their friend’s wellbeing in word alone, but their prayer and their faith were made manifest in action, when they took upon themselves the labor of carrying this sick man to the Source of healing. They had a sense of compassion, firm faith, and love for their friend. So must we also repent of our sins and pray for our neighbors, caring for the wellbeing of others. It so happens that the Lord will send sickness not only for the sake of one person, but so that through that sickness, his friends and relations can be cleansed of sin through their labors of compassion. Let us also, through humility and compassion for others, be cleansed of our sins, especially in these days of Great Lent."