On March 6, Cheesefare (Forgiveness) Sunday, the commemoration of Adam’s expulsion from Paradise, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
Concelebrating with His Grace were cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Priest Pavel Rusakov (cleric of "Inexhaustible Chalice" Church in Brooklyn, NY), Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral cleric), and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric). Praying in the altar at Liturgy were Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, and Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada.
The Synodal choir sang beautifully under the direction of conductor Vadim S. Gan. Many parishioners confessed their sins and communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas thanked all for their joint prayer and addressed those gathered with a sermon, in which he said, in part:
"We stand at the threshold of Great Lent, that grace-filled time when we must augment our prayer both in church and at home, as a result of which we are changed for the better: within us a new and peaceful state is formed. We pray with our heart, we pray with our mind, and we feel this grace from the Lord. One can look at any icon of our Savior, of the Mother of God, of any size, and feel that spiritual help from above."
His Grace noted that we have the opportunity to pray in church, which many are now deprived of. "We especially pray during these days for the Primate, Metropolitan Onufry, and for the clergy and faithful children of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. We have an obligation to come to church and pray for them. This is our Christian duty, this is our love for our neighbor."
Bishop Nicholas spoke about the services that will be held in the cathedral during the coming week, and called on the faithful to come and pray during the days of the reading of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete.
A collection was held in the cathedral for those suffering in Ukraine. All of the collected funds will be given to Metropolitan Onufry directly, from when they will be disbursed to those in need.
That evening, Vespers with the Rite of Forgiveness was served in the cathedral.
Photos: S. Yakushin