On Saturday, December 10, the entirety of the Russian Church Abroad prayerfully celebrated the feast of the Kursk Root Icon oof the Mother of God. She is truly called the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, the directress of all those who were forced to leave their homeland and move "to a far country" (Luke 15:13). Nor is the significance of this icon any lesser for today’s immigrants from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
The main feast, of course, was in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. But it was also a particularly festal day in Our Lady of Pochaev Church in North Port, FL.
On Friday evening, December 9, the All-Night Vigil was served, followed by Divine Liturgy the following morning. Celebrating Liturgy was parish cleric Hieromonk Arkadii (Polishchuk), who addressed the faithful after the service with an instructive sermon. Special prayers were offered at Liturgy for peace in Ukraine.
Also arriving in church that day were Archpriest Constantine Desrosiers (cleric of St. Xenia Church in Methuen, MA) and Nun Andrea (Nichols). Fr. Constantine received a blessing from the ever-memorable Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) to help with the services in the new church during the winter months.
It should be noted that Metropolitan Nicholas, the New First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, awarded Fr. Constantine, elevating him to the rank of archpriest. This event took place in the fall, and parishioners joyously congratulated Fr. Constantine on his award.
Mother Andrew presented the church a piece of the relics of Venerable Anthony the Great. For the brethren of the church, this was especially important and symbolic, as the clergy of the parish are monastics and serve the full cycle of divine services every day, as at a monastery.
Parish rector Archimandrite Stefan (Khilchuk), the brethren, and all of the parishioners sincerely thank all of their benefactors for their prayers and donations. On Wednesday, September 28, the temporary church in North Port was damaged in Hurricane Ian. The floor was flooded, and many of the wooden pieces in the church were damaged. With God’s help, the church community was able to perform a full renovation, replacing the floor (the carpeting was replaced with tile) and the rotted parts of the walls and painting the church. Parishioners expressed their gratitude for all of the help that had been offered by both priests and laity, the faithful of the Russian Church Abroad.
The church brethren always pray for and commemorate their benefactor, asking the Lord to grant them "give them things heavenly for things earthly, things eternal for things temporal, things incorruptible for things corruptible" (from the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great).