On July 25, the 5th Sunday after Pentecost, the annual celebrations honoring the Baptism of Rus’ took place at St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ. Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan.
Concelebrating with the hierarchs were: Archpriest Serge Lukianov (dean of New Jersey), Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov; secretary of the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA), Archpriests Rafael Melendez and Boris Slootsky (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ), Paul Ivanov (rector of Holy Myrrhbearers Church in Brooklyn, NY), Seraphim Chemodakov (cleric of the Memorial Church), and Serge Ledkovsky (deputy rector of the Memorial Church), Abbot Eutychius (Dovgan; rector of St. Nicholas Skete in Freehold, NJ), Priests Ephraim Willmarth (cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY), Anthony Williams (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral), and Paul Rusakov (cleric of Inexhaustible Chalice Church in Brooklyn, NY), Protodeacon Paul Drozdowski (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral), and Deacons Alexis Golubov (cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City), Michael Pavuk (cleric of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA), Dimitry Lisan (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and Hierodeacon Theodore (Stanway; cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery).
The parish choir and the Hierarchal Choir of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City joined to magnificently sing the divine service, under direction of conductor Vadim S. Gan.
The celebrations were held under the aegis of the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, as well as an honored copy of the wonderworking Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God, which had been brought from Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. The church was filled with worshippers, both adults and children, who came to pray before the holy icons and honor the anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’. Virtually all in attendance communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Archbishop Gabriel greeted everyone with the feast, reminded those gathered about how Rus’ was baptized by the Holy Great Prince Vladimir, and expressed his joy that so many people had come from various places to celebrate the feast.
While parishioners were communing in the church, Fr. Anthony Williams served the Lesser Blessing of the Water. The clergy and faithful then held the traditional procession around the Memorial Church with the holy icons, at the end of which a moleben was sung.
A festal luncheon both in the parish hall and outdoors was organized for those attending the celebrations. Church goods and other spiritual needs, including spiritual literature, was available for those interested. Parishioners and guests at the feast enjoyed interacting with one another in the fresh air, which was permitted by the pleasant weather, rather than the usual swelting July heat.
Jackson, NJ: Annual St. Vladimir’s Day Celebrations held at St. Vladimir Memorial Church - 07/25/21
Photos: T. Veselkina - Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese