On Saturday the 11th and Sunday the 12th of September, the patronal feast day of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ, Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal and Bishop James of Sonora paid an archpastoral visit to the parish.
The festal divine services were held under the aegis of the myrrh-streaming Iveron "Hawaiian" Icon of the Mother of God. Faithful even came from other states to share in the joy of the feast with the clergy and parishioners of the cathedral, as well as to pray before the myrrh-streaming holy icon.
On Sunday, September 11, the feast of the Beheading of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist of the Lord John, Bishop James celebrated Divine Liturgy. On the feast itself, Archbishop Gabriel celebrated Liturgy, co-served by Bishop James. Concelebrating with the hierarchs were cathedral and visiting clergy:
- Archpriest Serge Lukianov (cathedral rector)
- Archpriest Vasily Andrejuk (cathedral cleric)
- Archpriest Luka Novakovic (rector of St. Michael Church in Philadelphia, PA)
- Archpriest Zoran Radovic (rector of St. George Serbian Church in Elizabeth, NJ)
- Archpriest Ljubo Milosevic (rector of Holy Trinity Church in Vineland, NJ)
- Archpriest David Straut (rector of St. Elizabeth the New-Martyr Church in Rocky Hill, NJ)
- Archpriest Petro Kunitsky (cleric of Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia Church in Brooklyn, NY)
- Archpriest Boris Slootsky (cathedral cleric)
- Archpriest Paul Ivanov (rector of Holy Myrrhbearers Church in Brooklyn, NY)
- Archpriest Alexander Botschagow (rector of Holy Fathers Church in New York City)
- Archpriest Dimitri Jakimowicz (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stratford, CT)
- Archpriest Leonid Goferman (rector of Holy Virgin Protection Church in New Brunswick, NJ)
- Archpriest Serge Ledkovsky (deputy rector of St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson, NJ)
- Priest Stephen Kaznica (rector of Sts. Peter & Paul Patriarchal Cathedral in Passaic, NJ)
- Priest Valery Sukholobov (rector of Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Philadelphia, PA)
- Priest Nikolai Gulin (OCA cleric)
- Priest Anthony Williams (cathedral cleric)
- Protodeacon Paul Drozdowski (cathedral cleric)
- Deacon Alexis Golubov (cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City)
- Deacon Alexandre Sarandinaki (cathedral cleric), and
- Deacon Dimitry Lisan (cathedral cleric).
During the service, Archbishop Gabriel tonsured parish acolyte George Rimakis a reader.
The church was filled with worshippers, most of whom communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Archbishop Gabriel congratulated everyone on the occasion of their patronal feast, and addressed the faithful with a sermon, in which he spoke about the life of the Holy Right-Believing Great Prince Alexander Nevsky, as well as reminding them of the history of the myrrh-streaming Hawaiian Icon of the Mother of God.
Fr. Serge thanked the hierarchs and clergy for their shared prayer, and presented Bishop James with a commemorative cross and panagia set depicting St. Alexander Nevsky. The rector especially thanked Deacon Nectarios Yangson for accompanying the myrrh-streaming image, and called on the faithful to pray for him, that the Lord and the Most Holy Theotokos might strengthen him and grant him the strength to fulfill such an important obedience for the Church.
The rector presented namesday celebrants and others who labored for the good of the Church with icons of St. Alexander Nevsky: Fr. Alexander Botschagow, Subdeacon Alexander Lavrenov, Readers George Rimakis, Alexander Vlachos, and Alexander Kallaur; he congratulated Deacon Alexandre Sarandinaki on the occasion of his namesday. The protodeacon intoned the Polychronion for whose celebrating their patron saint.
All were invited to a festal luncheon in the church all opposite the cathedral, where brotherly interaction between the clergy and parishioners continued.