On Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th of August, the great feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada paid an archpastoral visit to St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ, where he officiated the festal divine services.
Serving alongside His Eminence at the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy were:
- Archpriest Serge Lukianov (cathedral rector)
- Archpriest Vasily Andrejuk (cathedral cleric)
- Archpriest Rafael Melendez (cathedral cleric)
- Archpriest Boris Slootsky (cathedral cleric)
- Archpriest Ilia Marzev (rector of St. Sergius Cathedral in Parma, OH)
- Archpriest Andrew Cuneo (rector of St. Katherine of Alexandria OCA Mission in Encinitas, CA)
- Protodeacon Paul Drozdowski (cathedral cleric)
- Deacon Alexandre Sarandinaki (cathedral cleric)
- Deacon Stefan Stoyanov (diocesan cleric), and
- Deacon Dimitry Lisan (cathedral cleric).
Upon completion of Liturgy, Archbishop Gabriel addressed the faithful with a sermon, in which he spoke about the meaning and significance of the feast, and about how the Theotokos appeared to the holy apostles after her dormition, leaving them her cincture (belt) for their consolation.
After the service, the hierarch blessed baked crosses, which were then distributed, in accordance with Jerusalem tradition. His Eminence also read a special prayer for students and teachers before the beginning of the new school year.
The cathedral sisterhood provided a bountiful luncheon in the parish hall. In keeping with Gethsemane tradition, kulich and cheese pascha were offered, and a feeling of Paschal joy was felt by all.