The day before Pentecost, Soul Saturday, is appointed as a special commemoration in the Church Typicon for all of the Orthodox reposed. Since Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY has a very large cemetery, it has been the custom for many years to celebrate Divine Liturgy on this day in the cemetery’s Chapel of the Dormition, which was built almost 50 years ago in memory of the Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia, especially the Holy Royal Martyrs. A priest and deacon are assigned to serve Proskomedia in the chapel, while in the cathedral, the usual Saturday morning Midnight Office is served. Thereupon, Divine Liturgy is served in the chapel, which many pilgrims and neighbors attend as part of the Pentecost feast.
This year, on Saturday, June 11, at the end of Liturgy, His Grace Luke, Bishop of Syracuse and abbot of the monastery, accompanied by the monastic clergy, served a general panihida, in which all those buried in the cemetery and all those whose names are in the monastery commemoration books are prayed for. During the panihida, His Grace censed of all the gravesites.
The patronal feast of the monastery is Great and Holy Pentecost; more particularly, the Day of the Holy Spirit, the day after the great feast day. On Saturday afternoon, the Rule for Communion is longer than usual, as the akathist that forms part of the Rule is to the Holy Trinity, a very lengthy composition. During All-Night Vigil, when the litia is served, it is local tradition to process around the church, stopping at all four corners for the petitions to be read.
The next morning, Sunday, June 12, in keeping with tradition, an early Liturgy was served at 6:00 AM in the basement Church of Venerable Job of Pochaev for those brethren who, due to obedience, cannot participate in the hierarchal Divine Liturgy at 9:00 AM. Also, many pilgrims avail themselves of this option due to travel plans.
At 9:00 AM, Bishop Luke was greeted in church by the monastery clergy. After vesting, the Hours were read. Upon conclusion of Liturgy, Great Vespers was served with the Kneeling Prayers to the Holy Spirit. His Grace handed out bouquets of flowers to the priests and read the first prayer. Archimandrites Theophylact (Clapper-DeWell) and Nektarios (Harding) read the second and third prayers.
After the services, all were treated to a festal monastery meal. Lunch was served even in the seminary hall to accommodate all of the pilgrims.
On Monday, June 13, Holy Spirit Day, many visiting clergy arrived from all over to participate in the monastery’s feast day. Bishop Luke was greeted triumphally at the refectory staircase. Despite its being a workday, the church was filled with pilgrims.
At the Little Entrance, Priest Ephraim Willmarth, the assistant to the seminary dean, was awarded the right to wear the kamilavka for his diligent service to the seminary and the Church.
At the end of Liturgy, a moleben was served to the Most Holy Spirit with a procession around the church, stopping at all four corners for the petitions and sprinkling of holy water. Again, after the service, His Grace invited all to a festal luncheon in the refectory. After the luncheon, all were invited to the abbot’s quarters for a reception.