On January 30, the 32nd Sunday after Pentecost, and the date when the Holy Church honors the memory of Venerable Anthony the Great, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Concelebrating with His Eminence were: cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, and Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral clerics).
Singing at the divine services was the Synodal choir under the direction of Vadim S. Gan. Despite the heavy snowstorm that hit the city and surrounding states the day before, a large number of parishioners gathered for Liturgy, many of whom confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Archbishop Gabriel addressed the gathered faithful with a sermon on the Gospel reading, which related the healing of the blind man. This is the story of a man’s ailment, his encounter with God, and his healing. His Eminence noted that, "The Holy Fathers interpret this incident in the Gospel as being directed toward all blind men – that is, those who do not yet know Christ."
"We understand that there exists bodily blindness, but there is also something far more serious – spiritual blindness, when man does not understand that there is one thing needful, that is, the reason for which he exists. And when a man comes to know Christ, when he discovers His teachings and becomes a disciple of Christ through these teachings, then unto such a one is also opened the meaning of life. We see all around us so many such blind men – people who still do not know Christ and, perhaps, who do not even wish to know Him. And this is because they want to live a worldly life and are focused on how that life can be more merrily and richly lived."
Archbishop Gabriel reminded those present that faithful people know that eternal life begins after this earth life, and that we must make use of the time that is given to us on earth, striving to be worthy disciples, followers of Christ, trying to live according to His commandments, in order to inherit eternal life and reach our goal – the salvation of our souls.
The sisterhood organized a luncheon in the cathedral hall, during which the brotherly interaction of the clergy and faithful continued.