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Chestnut Ridge, NY: Metropolitan Nicholas officiates Patronal Feast of Otrada Chapel

On Saturday, February 3, the feast day of Our Lady "Comfort and Consolation," Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America & New York paid an archpastoral visit to the American-Russian Aid Association "Otrada" in Chestnut Ridge, NY, where he celebrated Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the local chapel’s patronal feast. Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad were: Archpriest George Temidis (chapel rector) and Deacons Nicholas Ilyin (cleric of Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY) and Theodotus Conrad (cleric of Nativity of the Mother of God Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY).

A joint choir sang outstandingly under the direction of Valentina Shatalov, choir director of St. Nicholas Church in Poughkeepsie, NY.

His Eminence delivered a sermon, in which he reminded those present that the Mother of God – an example of sublime obedience and humility – blesses us through her icon and never forsakes us. The Metropolitan briefly recounted the history of the icon, noting how in 807, the abbot of Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos heard the voice of the Mother of God at night coming from her icon: she warned the monks of a coming attack by marauders, although the voice of her Divine Infant said that the monks ought to suffer for their sins. Despite this, the Theotokos repeated her warning, and the monastery was saved.

His Eminence continued: although we are not on Mount Athos, but in America, we share the joy of today’s feast and celebrate Divine Liturgy – the most exalted sacrifice and gift to God that we can offer. And the Theotokos speaks to us, even though we cannot hear this on account of our sins. She warns us of the dangers of this world, where our faith, virtues, and joys are under threat. She reminds us to be vigilant and brave, to preserve and defend the Faith, to be true warriors of Christ, and to bear witness that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and He opens the doors of salvation before men.

Upon completion of Liturgy, all were invited to one of Otrada’s banquet halls for a bountiful luncheon. The First Hierarch was greeted with bread and salt, and with words of welcome and gratitude the members of the organization’s administration presented Metropolitan Nicholas with a painting by artist Georgy A. von Zigern-Korn, depicting St. Seraphim Church (now cathedral) in the early years of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY.

Von Zigern-Korn was born in St. Petersburg in 1910, and after the revolution of 1917 left Russia as a boy with his family for Yugoslavia, where he graduated from Belgrade’s Academy of Arts. Prior to the start of World War II, he was able to fresco 15 churches in Yugoslavia. Despite not being a Soviet citizen, he was betrayed by the British and handed over to the Soviet Union, where he was sentenced to 10 years in the camps. Having personally experienced all the horrors of life in the Gulag, he bore witness to everything he had seen in a series of drawings, later titled "Stalin’s Gulag through the Eyes of an Artist" (as well as a memoir entitled Stories of a Bright Past). After being freed from the camps, he was able to emigrate to the United States and find his parents, who knew nothing of their son’s fate. Georgy A. von Zigern-Korn spent the final years of his life at Novo-Diveevo, where he is buried next to his wife Olga. After his repose in 2002, Otrada was able to obtain a number of his paintings.

His Eminence thanked all who labored in preparing and organizing the patronal feast, and expressed his hope that he will have the opportunity to serve in the Otrada chapel more than just once per year.


Chestnut Ridge, NY: Metropolitan Nicholas officiates Patronal Feast of Otrada Chapel - 02/03/24

Photos: Matushka E. Temidis

(10 images)

Kursk Root Icon



Eastern American Diocese | Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia