On January 1, 2023, the 29th Sunday after Pentecost and that before Christ’s Nativity, dedicated to the Holy Fathers, Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America & New York celebrated the first Divine Liturgy of the calendar year in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad were: cathedral dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Živojin Jakovljević and Priest Milan Dragovic (clerics of the Serbian Church), Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral cleric), and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric).
Singing at the divine services was the Synodal choir under the direction of Isaiah Trofimenko.
Liturgy was held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora – the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God.
A multitude of cathedral parishioners and faithful of the Serbian Church came to pray at Liturgy and venerate the image of the Most Holy Theotokos. Many communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of the service, Metropolitan Nicholas addressed the faithful with a sermon and said, in part:
"We have a Church calendar, and we must live according to this calendar. I often say that the first day of the week is Sunday, and from this day we begin our week. Right now, we are preparing for the feast of Christ’s Nativity. Today we heard the Gospel reading narrating Christ’s lineage. God is love, and God sent His Son into our world to save us. And the Son of God became the Son of man – like unto us in all things but sin. This is a great day, on which we should lay all things aside. We began our preparation for Christ’s Nativity with fasting. And on the day itself, we will be spiritually triumphant: we will be in church with Christ, rejoice, and receive Jesus Christ fully into our lives. This is what an Orthodox Christian does.
"We also have a civil calendar. This calendar also exists in our lives – we live, work, and study according to it. Today is the New Year according to the civil calendar, and we ought to remember bygone years and how we lived; we ought to remember our departed preceptors, family and friends, and pray for them. Let us ask God’s help to live on, to live as God requires of us, as it is written in the New Testament: to have love, to repent, and to live for God, saving our souls.
"Let us ask the Lord to send us grace and strength from on high, that we might confess our faith correctly and with understanding, praising God and praying unceasingly. How good it would be if we all did this! And we would feel peace within ourselves and peace would reign throughout the whole world. Let us strive to remember these wonderful words: ‘O Lord, grant us grace and strength, that we may be vouchsafed to hymn Thee with understanding, and to pray without ceasing.’"
In the church hall, the cathedral sisterhood prepared a luncheon for the clergy and faithful.
New York City: Metropolitan Nicholas celebrates First Liturgy of Calendar Year in Synodal Cathedral - 01/01/23
Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese - T. Veselkina