From October 22-24, His Eminence, Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen), officiated the divine services in honor of the Holy Elders of Optina – the patronal feast of the eponymous skete founded a year ago at St. Mary of Egypt Church in Roswell (Atlanta), GA.
On Thursday, October 21, with the blessing of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, Metropolitan Jonah tonsured Patrick Davis into the lesser schema, giving him the name Gabriel, in honor of Venerable Gabriel of Georgia. He vested Andrew Smith as a Rassophore Monk with the name Alexei, in honor of Venerable Alexis the Man of God.
On Saturday, October 23, His Eminence celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by Archimandrite John (Townsend; skete abbot), Abbot Tryphon (Parsons; rector of All Merciful Savior Monastery on Vashon Island, WA), Archpriest Mark Tyson (rector of Holy Prophet Elijah Mission in Pigeon Forge, TN), Hieromonk Alexander (Lisnichuk; skete cleric), Priest Elias Crowder (rector of St. Martin of Tours Mission in Montgomery, AL), and parish clerics.
Before Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Jonah tonsured Raphael Simons and John Ashjazadeh readers. Michael Burgan (following his tonsure as a reader), Monk Gabriel (Davis), Monk Alexis (Smith), and Reader Igor Paschenko was ordained subdeacons.
After the Eucharistic Canon, Monk-Subdeacon Gabriel was ordained a deacon.
Upon conclusion of Liturgy, Metropolitan Jonah congratulated all with the patronal feast of the skete, and especially noted the growing number of those considering joining the brotherhood.
On Sunday morning, October 24, Metropolitan Jonah celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by the above-mentioned clergy. During Divine Liturgy, Hierodeacon Gabriel was ordained to the priesthood and Monk-Subdeacon Alexei was ordained to the diaconate.
After Liturgy, Fr. Tryphon delivered a sermon dedicated to the Church being a hospital for the soul.