On Wednesday, December 22, the feast day of the Icon of the Mother of God "Unexpected Joy," Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York paid an archpastoral visit to the eponymous church in Staten Island, NY, where he prayed at Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the parish’s patronal feast.
Archpriest Serge Lukianov (dean of New Jersey, rector of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ) celebrated Liturgy, co-served by parish rector Abbot Vladimir (Zgoba), Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric), and Deacon Eugene Grigoriak (cleric of Our Lady "The Inexhaustible Chalice" Church in Brooklyn, NY).
The service was held under the aegis of the myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts" from Moscow, currently visiting the churches of the East Coast with her guardian, Sergei Fomin. The parish choir sang under the direction of conductor Ksenia Grigoriak.
Despite its being a workday, parishioners and faithful from other churches gathered in the church to pray before the icon and commune of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of the service, Metropolitan Hilarion anointed all those gathered with holy myrrh from the icon. The rector thanked His Eminence for his archpastoral visit, shared prayers, and the opportunity to pray under the aegis of the myrrh-streaming icon.