Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrated the first Divine Liturgy of the New Year in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City on January 2, the Sunday before Christ’s Nativity, of the Holy Fathers. Concelebrating with His Grace were Archpriest Andrei Sommer (cathedral dean), Archpriest Edward Chervinsky (cathedral cleric), Priest Ioan Ciurin (rector of Eglise de la Sainte-Trinite (Holy Trinity Church) in Bern, Switzerland), Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric), and Deacon Nicholas Ilyin (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY).
The Synodal choir sang beautifully under the direction of conductor Adrian Fekula. The service was held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora – the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. Despite the fact that many parishioners had left the city to visit family and friends for the New Year, a large number of them came to pray in church and commune of Christ’s Holy Mysteries in the waning days of the Nativity Fast.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas reminded the faithful of the divine services taking place the coming week, and said in his sermon, in part:
"The Church prepares us for Christ’s Nativity. The fast has flown by, but it is never too late, even in these final minutes, to make an ascetic undertaking and demonstrate love for God, just as the Church shows love for each of us. Today we celebrate the memory of the Holy Fathers, those who had a direct part in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Last Sunday, we honored the Holy Forefathers, including the holy saints and prophets who live before the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. But then people sinned and were banished from paradise. Even here, however, the Lord consoled them, saying that He would send the people a Savior, a Peacemaker, Who would help man to be restored to his original blessed state. The Holy Forefathers and prophets, heeding the voice of God, sensed God’s love for them and longed for that day. Do we comprehend God’s love for each one of us?
"Before the coming of God into the world, those who awaited the coming of an earthy king lived for worldly glory, and then Christ Himself came to earth in order to grant wisdom to man and save him. Unfortunately, to this day many have not believed in God; they do not understand what God, love, and salvation are; they think about worldly things, about how to live well on this earth. And what do we see? The devil defeats them all.
"Man must turn to God and recall how the Holy Fathers lived, how they obeyed the Law of Moses, how they demonstrated humility and obedience and played their hope wholly in God. We must also put our hope in God as we anticipate Christ’s Nativity, and understand that the Lord shows love and mercy to every one of us. But we must open our hearts, that inner cave, in order to receive the Divine Infant Christ."
Bishop Nicholas also spoke about the saints whose memory was being commemorated that day – Saints Ignatius the God-Bearer and John of Kronstadt, and called on them to emulate their holy lives, praying to them from the heart.
A lenten luncheon was organized for the clergy and faithful in the cathedral hall.
That same day, a group of Romanian faithful – parishioners the Monastery of St. Barbara in Middletown, NJ – came to the cathedral to pray before the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon.
New York City: On Sunday before Christ’s Nativity, Bishop Nicholas celebrates Liturgy in Synodal Cathedral - 01/02/22
Photos: T. Veselkina, Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese