On Saturday, December 10, Bishop Luke of Syracuse, having taken part in the Synodal celebrations in New York City, arrived at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ, where he officiated the All-Night Vigil. The wonderworking Pochaev Icon of the Mother of God visited from Jordanville for the divine service.
On December 12, the 26th Sunday after Pentecost, the diocesan vicar was greeted at the entrance to the cathedral with bread and salt. Rector Archpriest Serge Lukianov and the cathedral clergy greeted His Grace, after which Divine Liturgy began. Concelebrating with the hierarch were Fr. Serge and cathedral clerics: Archpriests Vasily Andrejuk, Rafael Melendez, and Boris Slootsky, Priest Anthony Williams, Protodeacon Paul Drozdowski, and Deacons Alexandre Sarandinaki and Dimitry Lisan, a well as Deacon Michael Pavuk (cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY).
Singing at both services was the Holy Trinity Seminary choir from Jordanville, under the direction of Deacon Nicholas Kotar. Also singing in the choir was Holy Trinity Monastery cleric Priest Ephraim Willmarth.
The church was full of worshippers, most of whom communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of the service, His Grace greeted those gathered with the Lord’s Day, and addressed the faithful with a sermon on the doing of small good deeds. He noted that it is especially important to perform good deeds now, as we traverse the arena of the Nativity Fast.
Fr. Serge sincerely thanked Bishop Luke and the visiting seminarians, and presented them a check for $25,000 for the needs of the seminary and student scholarships. The funds were donated by parishioners to the cathedral’s Benevolent Fund in honor of its long-time rector, the ever-memorable Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov.
The rector thanked the seminary choir for adorning the divine services with their beautiful singing.
A luncheon was organized in the church hall, during which Bishop Luke, the clergy, and seminarians were given gift packets for Nativity, prepared by the cathedral sisterhood.