On Monday, December 19, the feast of the Holy Hierarch Nicholas, Wonderworker of Myra in Lycia, His Grace, Bishop Jerome (Shaw), paid an archpastoral visit to St. Nicholas Church in Stratford, CT, where he celebrated Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the parish’s patronal feast.
Parish rector Archpriest Dimitri Jakimowicz greeted His Grace upon his arrival to the church. Bishop Jerome then celebrated Liturgy, co-served by Fr. Dimitri, Archpriest Dionisy Nalitov (rector of St. Panteleimon Church in Hartford, CT), Protodeacon Paul Giatas and Deacon David Dutkanicz (parish clerics), as well as Deacon Alexey Pnev (cleric of Nativity of the Mother of God Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY, accompanying His Grace).
The parish choir sang beautifully and the acolytes served ably, having prepared diligently for the archpastoral visit.
Despite its being a weekday, many of the faithful were in attendance, and many communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
The Epistle and Gospel were read in English and Slavonic. Bishop Jerome delivered a sermon in both languages, as well, touching on the readings from Hebrews, Mark, and Luke, which suggest the two kinds of gifts of St. Nicholas Day: the positive (God’s special gifts to us) and the negative (the gifts in which evils do not come to us).
Upon conclusion of the service, a short moleben was served to St. Nicholas with a prayer in both languages.
After Liturgy, a festal luncheon was prepared and served with love by the parish sisterhood. No one seemed in any hurry to leave, and the gathering broke up later in the day. Many interesting memories and anecdotes of church life were shared at table.