This year’s Paschal period has been an eventful one in the parish life of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ. After the celebration of Holy Pascha on Sunday, April 24, the parish welcomed His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan, who paid the tradition archpastoral visit on Bright Monday the 25th, and officiated the divine services.
In keeping with parish tradition, the next day, Bright Tuesday, Divine Liturgy was celebrated in Our Lady of Tikhvin Church (the old St. Alexander Nevsky Church, located next to the cathedral). Bright week concluded with a second hierarchal visit to St. Vladimir Memorial Church in nearby Jackson on Bright Saturday, April 30, which many of the parish clergy and faithful attended.
On Thomas Sunday, May 1, the parishioners and clergy of St. Alexander Nevsky joined those from throughout Central New Jersey at St. Vladimir Cemetery in Jackson, where the departed faithful were commemorated with joyous Paschal hymns. Cathedral rector Archpriest Serge Lukianov celebrated Divine Liturgy in St. John the Baptist Chapel, after which panihidas were served throughout the day.
Friday of the same week, May 6, marked the patronal feast of St. George Cossack Church in Howell, which saw the celebration of Divine Liturgy and various traditional Cossack festivities. Gifts were presented to namesday celebrants Georges and Alexandras. The next day, parish clergy and faithful traveled to Philadelphia to join in the 50th anniversary celebrations of Archpriest Mark Shinn’s ordination to the priesthood.
May 15th, the 4th Sunday of Pascha, that of the Paralytic, also marked the feast day of the Holy Passion-bearing Princes Boris and Gleb ‒ the namesday of cathedral cleric Archpriest Boris Slootsky. The clergy and faithful lovingly wished Fr. Boris many years of health and happiness, thanking him for his constant pastoral love.
The following day, Monday, May 16, the parish ‒ along with the entire Russian Diaspora and indeed the whole Orthodox world ‒ was struck by the tragic news of the repose of the beloved First Hierarch of ROCOR, His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York. Panihidas were served in the cathedral for the departed archpastor’s first and third days.
On Wednesday, May 18, Liturgy was celebrated for the feast of the Holy Great-Martyr Irene ‒ the namesday of Matushka Irina Lukianov, widow of long-time cathedral rector Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov. The parish expressed their love and gratitude to Matushka Irina, who continues to serve the parish, especially in preparing flowers for the feasts.
Parish clergy and faithful traveled to the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City for the Metropolitan’s funeral on Saturday, May 21, and to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY for his burial on Sunday the 22nd, that of the Samaritan Woman.
On Monday, May 23, the feast of the Holy Apostle Simon the Zealot, Fr. Serge marked the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate by the ever-memorable First Hierarch of ROCOR, Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky; +1985). Concelebrating with him at Divine Liturgy were Archpriests Mark Shinn (rector of St. Andrew Naval Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA), Chad Williams (rector of St. Alexander Nevsky Memorial Church in Richmond, ME), Boris Henderson (rector of All Saints of Russia Church in Denver, CO), and Boris Slootsky (parish cleric), Abbot Tikhon (Gayfudinov; abbot of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ), and Priest Anthony Williams and Protodeacon Paul Drozdowski (parish clerics). Addressing the parish after Liturgy, Fr. Serge expressed his overwhelming gratitude to the Lord for sending him a faithful companion in life in his Matushka Lubov, "who throughout the years has always been at my side serving the Lord and the parishioners." He also gave his thanks to Abbess Elizabeth from the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane, who sent as a gift a Jerusalem Cross blessed on the Tomb of Christ.
On Wednesday, May 25, the parish gathered to mark the fourth anniversary of the blessed repose of Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov. Fr. Serge celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by Archpriests Ljubo Milosevic (rector of Holy Trinity Church in Vineland, NJ), Luka Novakovic (rector of St. Michael Church in Philadelphia), and Zoran Radovic (rector of St. George Serbian Church in Elizabeth, NJ), and parish clerics Frs. Boris Slootsky, Anthony Williams, and Paul Drozdowski. A panihida was then served at Fr. Valery’s gravesite behind the cathedral altar.
Saturday, May 28, saw the graduation ceremony of the parish Russian School. Fr. Serge and Fr. Anthony served a thanksgiving moleben in the cathedral, followed by the ceremony in the parish hall. Special congratulations were offered to graduates Michael Sisoev, Alexander Rodriguez, and Sergei Zavalnik.
Glory to God for all things!