On December 12, the 25th Sunday after Pentecost, Metropolitan Mark of Berlin & German celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City, co-served by Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and German Diocesan vicar Bishop Job of Stuttgart.
Concelebrating with the hierarchs were: Archpriest Andrei Sommer (cathedral dean), Archpriest Edward Chervinsky (cathedral cleric), Archdeacon Peter (Karakozoff; cleric of Joy of All Who Sorrow Cathedral in San Francisco, CA), and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric). Praying in the altar were: Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, and Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco & Western America.
The Synodal choir sang beautifully under the direction of conductor Vadim S. Gan.
The divine service was held under the aegis of the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. A multitude of parishioners came to pray before the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, many of whom communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas addressed the clergy and faithful with a sermon, in which he said, in part:
"We thank the Lord God for His mercies to us, for this day, for this little Pascha, when we glorify the Resurrected Christ. We thank you, Metropolitan Mark, for officiating this divine service, we thank Bishop Job for his prayers, and our priests for their prayerful labor…
"Today we heard the Gospel according to Luke, in which our Lord Jesus Christ performs a miracle, healing a woman who for 18 years had been sick and suffering. We can see a similar miracle from our Savior if we will ask for it, repenting of our sins.
"Friday was a special day for us – the memory of the Kursk Root Icon, our patronal feast, and for the third day now we continue to feel its triumph. This is a special, even great, personal feast for us in our life in the Church. Tomorrow and the day after we will be returning to our jobs, to our lives and our struggle for salvation, but we cannot forget these grace-filled days. We must remember all that we received, all that we saw, and know with certainty that the Lord is with us, when we ask for this. We felt the special prayer of our First Hierarch and thank him for his leadership, for his direction in the life of the Church; our Synod of Bishops and our new co-brother Bishop Job for lifting up their prayers with us in these days. This shared prayer strengthens and unites us. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all of our bishops and clergy for everything that they gave us during these days. Our work going forward is to pray for one another.
"Christ wrought a miracle, and He demonstrated love and compassion toward this woman. So must we do likewise in our lives: ask for help and healing in our infirmities, but also help those who suffer, all who are in need of help, of a kind word, so that people might understand that they are not alone, that Christ is beside them. In these days, we felt this blessing. We ask your holy prayers, Archbishop Mark, Bishop Job. Know that our Synod is your church and its doors are always open to you."
On behalf of the Diocese of Germany, Metropolitan Mark thanked his brothers and said in reply:
"This year, we performed the episcopal consecration of a new vicar bishop for our German Diocese. When we come to the Synodal Cathedral, we remember bygone eras, when we were greater in number…
"We waited to years to come here, for the heavens to open, and we were able to fly her. We thank God for His mercy, that we were able to concelebrate in this holy church and on Friday to accomplish the work that stood before us – the consecration of the new Bishop of Stuttgart.
We always remember Metropolitan Hilarion in our prayers, and all of you here present and praying. We know that we are one in the Church. We abide in the oneness of which the Apostle Paul says in the epistle we read today, that we must always ‘keep the unity.’ And we can achieve this unity only in the Church. There is no other society, no other place where we can truly become one.