On Saturday the 19th and Sunday the 20th of March, the Second Sunday of Great Lent – dedicated to the Holy Hierarch Gregory Palamas – His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan, paid an archpastoral visit to Protection of the Mother of God Church in Rochester, NY.
The Eastern American Diocesan vicar officiated the divine services, co-served by Archimandrite Theophylact (Clapper-DeWell; cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY), and parish clergy: Protodeacon Andrej Strapko and Deacon Nathan Reff.
By this visit, Bishop Nicholas continued a renewed parish tradition begun in the 1960s by Archbishop Averky (Taushev; +1976) and continued by Metropolitan Laurus (Škurla; +2008). Every year, these archpastors would visit not only during for the parish feast, but also on the second Sunday of Great Lent. This year’s visit was of particular significance, because His Grace brought with him a reliquary filled with the relics of the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves.
Addressing the gathered faithful with a sermon, Bishop Nicholas encouraged them to continue their struggles in the coming weeks of the Fast, in order to prepare themselves for the encounter with the Risen Christ on the joyous Feast of Pascha.
After Liturgy, parishioners shared a plentiful lenten luncheon with His Grace, prepared by the parish Sisterhood. Parishioners expressed their hope that Bishop Nicholas will continue this tradition of annual visitation in the future.