On Saturday, December 4, the great feast of the Entry into the Temple of the Most Holy Theotokos, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, paid an archpastoral visit to St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY, where he celebrated Divine Liturgy. He was joined by His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan.
Concelebrating with the hierarchs at Liturgy were: Archpriest Serafim Gan (parish rector and chancellor of the ROCOR Synod of Bishops), Abbot Eutychius (Dovgan; rector of St. Nicholas Skete in Freehold, NJ), parish Protodeacons Paul Wolkow and Eugene Kallaur, and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric).
The parish choir sang beautifully. Upon completion of Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the gathered faithful with a sermon on the topic of the feast.
The visit of the diocesan hierarchs was timed to honor the 25th anniversary of Fr. Serafim’s ordination to the priesthood by Archbishop Anthony (Medvedev; +2000), which took place in San Francisco on December 4, 1996. Relatives and guests came from neighboring parishes, as well as from other states, to share in the joy of the event. Their visit was a surprise for Fr. Serafim.
After the service, the Metropolitan congratulated Fr. Serafim on his anniversary. Bishop Nicholas read aloud a Synodal gramota, which both bishops then presented to the rector.
After a group photo was taken, the clergy and parishioners made their way to a nearby banquet hall for a celebratory luncheon. There, they were met by Archpriests Andrei Sommer (dean of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City) and Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of New York City & Long Island, rector of nearby Holy Virgin Intercession Church in Glen Cove). Many words of congratulation were offered to the anniversary celebrant; Fr. Paul read an address from the parish, as well as other words said by clergy and parishioners. Fr. Eugene played a video of greetings from the U.S., Russia, and Australia, and the parish choir performed a concert.