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Washington, DC: Church Life in St. John the Baptist Cathedral

The end of March and the beginning of April turned out to be a period filled with a number of joyful events in the spiritual life of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC. On March 30, the Sitka Icon of the Mother of God visited the parish for the first time, and on Saturday, April 13, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America & New York came to officiate the divine services of the 4th Sunday of Great Lent. The Metropolitan brought with him the revered Harbin Icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow" ‒ a wonderworking icon that is kept in the lower St. Sergius Chapel in the Synodal Headquarters in New York City.

On Saturday, April 13, Metropolitan Nicholas officiated the All-Night Vigil in the cathedral. The clergy of the cathedral served alongside the First Hierarch of ROCOR. They were joined by Archpriest Alexander Kuznetsov. A year ago, Fr. Alexander was forced to move to the United States from Ukraine, where for 20 years he served in the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, headed by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry. During his priesthood, Fr. Alexander founded four parishes. The last parish he established was consecrated in memory of the Holy Royal Martyrs. This caused discontent among Ukrainian nationalists, who are irritated by everything related to Russia. The SBU called Fr. Alexander for interrogation with threats. As a result, Fr. Alexander was forced to leave his homeland and move to the USA. He settled in the Greater Washington area, where his cousin lives, who took him in. Fr. Alexander modestly visited the cathedral in the capital, without any pretense. During Metropolitan Nicholas’ visit to Washington, a conversation took place with Fr. Alexander. Having made sure that his ordination and release letters were in order, the Metropolitan gave him the blessing to serve in St. John the Baptist Cathedral.

It should be noted that Deacon Andrew Allen, who with his Matushka Elizabeth recently moved to Greater Washington from Texas for work, was also given a blessing to serve at the cathedral.

On Sunday morning, April 14, a solemn greeting of the First Hierarch took place, after which Divine Liturgy began. 170 people received Christ’s Holy Mysteries.

That evening, worshippers again gathered in the church to take part in the parish’s first Holy Unction service of the year, in Slavonic. 200 people took part in the first Unction.

On Monday evening, the second, English-language, Unction took place, attended by over 100 people. The Metropolitan intended to officiate this service, as well, but this was prevented by the sad news that everyone’s beloved Protodeacon Joseph Jarostchuk had reposed in Boston. Metropolitan Nicholas considered it his duty to lead his funeral service in Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. Early Monday morning, the Metropolitan got up and departed for the Diasporan Lavra, where he safely arrived an hour and a half before the funeral service for Fr. Joseph.

To the joy of Orthodox Washingtonians, the First Hierarch instructed that the Harbin Icon of the Mother of God remain in Washington for another week. Thus, parishioners will be able to celebrate the fifth Saturday of Great Lent – the Laudation of the Most Holy Theotokos – and the memory of St. Mary of Egypt in the presence of this miraculous icon.

We give thanks to the Lord for His great mercy to us sinners of Washington!

Archpriest Victor Potapov


Washington, DC: Church Life in St. John the Baptist Cathedral - 04/14/24

Photos: Y. Gripas

(21 images)

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Eastern American Diocese | Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia