On Labor Day weekend, September 3-5, clergy and parishioners of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ and Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia Church in Brooklyn, NY undertook the traditional pilgrimage to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. This spiritual tradition was founded by Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko; +1960) of Eastern America.
Upon arrival, on Saturday, September 3, more than 70 pilgrims took part in a procession with a revered copy of the wonderworking Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God to the Dormition Cemetery Church, where His Grace Luke, Bishop of Syracuse and monastery abbot, led the reading of the akathist to Venerable Job of Pochaev.
Upon their return to the monastery, Bishop Luke officiated the All-Night Vigil in Holy Trinity Cathedral, co-served by the monastery and visiting clergy. During the litia, the clergy and believers went in procession around the church.
On Sunday, September 4, concelebrating with Bishop Luke at Liturgy were: Archpriests Serge Lukianov (rector of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral), Michael Taratuchin (rector of St. John of Kronstadt Memorial Church in Utica, NY.), and Pavel Ivanov (rector of Holy Myrrhbearers Church in Brooklyn, NY), Priest Lawrence Cunningham (cleric of the Philippines Mission), Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), and Deacon Fiodor Tulbur (cleric of Holy Myrrhbearers Church), as well as monastery clergy.
Together with numerous pilgrims, the Osanna Chamber Choir (headed by Reader John Arlievsky) prayed at the service.
Fr. Serge delivered a sermon to the worshippers, asking the faithful: "What is spiritual joy?" – "It is when we feel the grace of God, especially during such pilgrimages under the protection of the Mother of God and Venerable Job. And, despite everything dark and negative around us, we as Orthodox Christians must always seek this spiritual joy in the temple of God. Without this spiritual joy, we wither and fall into despondency. Whoever is despondent and does not want to pray, does not have this spiritual joy in the Lord. I hope that this pilgrimage has filled your hearts with joy, so that when we return to our parishes, we would not become discouraged, but will be vigilant about our salvation."
At the end of Liturgy, the clergy and faithful went in procession around the church. All of the pilgrims were invited to a festal meal, and then went to Lake Otsego near the village of Cooperstown, where they took a ferry tour of the lake.
On Sunday evening, the pilgrims prayed at Compline, after which a bonfire was prepared. They were joined by singers of the Osanna Choir. They all sang songs and enjoyed interacting with one another, the temperate weather allowing them all to spend time in the fresh air.
On Monday, September 5, Liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Luke. Having prayed the pilgrims partook of Christ’s Holy Mysteries, and at the end of the service went to the monastery cemetery, where a panihida was served at the grave of the guardian of the myrrh-streaming Montreal Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, brother José Muñoz Cortés. The clergy and pilgrims also served a panihida at the resting place of the recently reposed First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion.
In their free time, the pilgrims toured the museum and made purchases in a bookstore. After lunch, having been spiritually enriched during the days of visiting the monastery, everyone departed for their parishes.