The great feast of the Baptism of the Lord (Theophany) was celebrated in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America & New York officiated the All-Night Vigil on Wednesday the 18th and celebrated Divine Liturgy on Thursday the 19th of January.
Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad were: Archpriest Andrei Sommer (cathedral dean), Archpriest Živojin Jakovljević and Priest Milan Dragovic (clerics of the Serbian Church), Priest Joseph Farooq (rector of St. Michael the Archangel Mission in Sargodha, Pakistan), Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral cleric), Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric), and Deacon Vitaly Permiakov (professor at St. Vladimir Theological Seminary (OCA) in Yonkers, NY).
Singing at the divine services was the Synodal choir under the direction of Elizabeth Gan.
As has become tradition, the cathedral was filled with worshippers for both services – which were held under the aegis of the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God ‒ including parishioners of the Serbian Church, who lost their main cathedral in New York City, dedicated to St. Sava, in a fire, with many now attending services in the Cathedral of the Sign for several years. Also having come to pray at the festal divine service were nuns from St. Mary of Egypt Monastery (OCA) in Glendale, AZ.
Most of those praying at Liturgy communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
At the Little Entrance, for his labors in preaching Orthodoxy in Pakistan, Metropolitan Nicholas awarded Fr. Joseph Farooq the right to wear the nabedrennik and kamilavka.
Fr. Joseph, a Catholic convert to Orthodoxy, began his labors in spreading the Orthodox Faith in 2011, when he became acquainted via correspondence with the ever-memorable Metropolitan Hilarion. With his blessing, Fr. Joseph and his team opened an Orthodox education center in Pakistan. The mission now also operates an education center for women, named in honor of Blessed Matrona of Moscow.
This year marks 10 years since Fr. Joseph was ordained to the priesthood by Metropolitan Hilarion. This took place in Sri Lanka thanks to the efforts of Priest Adrian Augustus, cleric of the Diocese of Australia & New Zealand.
Fr. Joseph is working on translations of liturgical literature into Urdu, Pakistan’s main language. He presented two translations into Urdu – the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and an Orthodox prayer book – to Metropolitan Nicholas.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Metropolitan Nicholas performed the Rite of Blessing of Water and greeted all with the feast.