On Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th of April, Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America & New York visited St. Panteleimon Church in Hartford, CT, where he officiated the solemn divine services on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the founding of the parish.
Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad at Liturgy were: Archpriests Serge Lukianov (dean of New Jersey), Dionisy Nalitov (parish rector), Andrei Sommer (dean of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City), Luka Novakovic (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ), Michael Crowley (dean of New England), Brendan Crowley (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Enfield, CT), and Dimitri Jakimowicz (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stratford, CT), Priest Philip Beiner (rector of Holy Trinity Church OCA in New Britain, CT), Deacon Michael Pavuk (cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY), and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric).
The divine services were held in the presence of the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. Jordanville’s Holy Trinity Seminary Choir sang.
The parish of Holy Great Martyr & Healer Panteleimon in Hartford was founded thanks to the work of more than 60 parishioners who, in 1958, decided to build their own church in the Russian Orthodox tradition, in which services would be served only in Church Slavonic. Led by Priest Nikolai Vasiliev, they rented a small empty sports hall building on Weathersfield Avenue and, through their combined efforts, converted the building into a cozy church. Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky; +1965) consecrated it in the name of the Great-Martyr Panteleimon. Most of the parishioners were very young, so weddings and baptisms often took place in the church. The church also had a school where children studied the Russian language and the Law of God.
For 13 years, the community attracted numerous parishioners, and in October 1967, a young and energetic new generation decided that the time had come to build a real Russian Orthodox church. A plot of land with a small house adjacent to it was found in the southern part of Hartford on small and quiet Becket Street. The rector, Archpriest Michael Bylinsky, sent letters asking for donations not only throughout America, but also to Australia, Argentina, France, Great Britain, and other countries. Thousands of response letters with checks and transfers came soon after. Priest Dimitry Alexandrow from Philadelphia (later Bishop Daniel of Erie), an engineer and architect by education and a talented iconographer, proposed a sketch of the temple in the form of a five-domed church of the Sergiev Posad style. In the beginning of November 1967, parish engineers under the guidance of Eugene Sinegursky began to work on calculations and drawings. In January 1971, the city gave permission for the construction of the temple, and on February 14, at the parish assembly, it was decided to begin construction work. Construction management was entrusted to Eugene Sinegursky.
Bishop Laurus (Škurla; +2008, later ROCOR First Hierarch) came from the Synod of Bishops to consecrate the land. He laid the holy relics of the Great Martyr & Healer Panteleimon, the Martyr Paraskeva, and the Virgin-Martyr Lucy in the cornerstone of the temple. Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky; +1976), who later consecrated the foundation, said this about the construction: "If this is not a miracle of God, then it is definitely the mercy of God!", recalling that the Russian people deeply revere the name of Great-Martyr Panteleimon.
After the roof was installed, work began on the interior of the temple. The money for the iconography was donated by Alexander and Lydia Nepury. The two altar stained-glass windows were designed by parishioner-artist Nadezhda Vyacheslova. The altar icons were painted by monks from Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. Thanks to the efforts of the parishioners, the construction of the temple was completed in just 14 months.
Divine services in the new temple began to be served in July 1971, and in September 1972, Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky; +1985), together with Bishop Laurus, consecrated the temple. By this time, much had already been done, the iconostasis and the interior decoration of the church were almost completed, although these works continued for about five more years. The temple has become an undoubted decoration of the city. As The Hartford Courant wrote, of the ten original buildings in Hartford, the church of St. Panteleimon ranked fourth.
Upon conclusion of Liturgy and a short moleben to the Most Holy Theotokos served before her Kursk Root Icon, Metropolitan Nicholas greeted the clergy and parishioners on their anniversary and addressed those present with a sermon.
For many years of labor for the benefit of the Holy Church and the parish, the rector of the church, Archpriest Dionisy Nalitov was awarded the Order of the Kursk Root Icon, 3rd Class.
Diocesan gramotas were awarded to head sister Matushka Ksenia Nalitov and parish treasurer Daniel Barvitsky.
For the support and beautification of the temple, an icon of the Theotokos Quick-to-Hear was presented to Nicholas Nepur, and the following parishioners were awarded with commemorative gifts for tireless work for the benefit of the church: warden Sergei Protsenko, treasurer of the sisterhood Valentina Semirog, and church secretary Anna Mara.
All those present were invited to a banquet, during which the clergy, parishioners, and guests continued their interaction.
Hartford, CT: Metropolitan Nicholas officiates 65th Anniversary Celebrations of St. Panteleimon Parish - 04/29/23
Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese - T. Veselkina