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Nyack, NY: On Myrrhbearers Sunday, Bishop Jerome celebrates Liturgy in Holy Virgin Protection Church

On May 19, the 3rd Sunday of Pascha, dedicated to the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women, His Grace, Bishop Jerome (Shaw), paid an archpastoral visit to Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY, where he celebrated Divine Liturgy. The visit to the Nyack parish on this weekend has become an annual tradition for the retired diocesan vicar.

Concelebrating with His Grace at Liturgy were: Archpriest Elias Gorsky (parish rector), Priest Andrew Podymow, and Deacons Nicholas Ilyin (parish clerics) and Konstantin Aleshin (cleric of Nativity of the Mother of God Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY).

At the Augmented Litany, prayers were offered for the sick and ailing, including pastor emeritus Archpriest George Larin, who was not feeling well enough to attend the service.

Bishop Jerome delivered two sermons: the first was in Russian, on the Gospel reading, in which three women are mentioned, as well as several men: the Noble Joseph of Arimathæa, Nicodemus the Nocturnal Disciple, the Apostle St. John the Evangelist, who "ran faster than Peter but did not enter the Tomb", the Apostle Peter, who did enter the Tomb, and a figure described in some passages as "a young man" and in others as "the Angel of the Lord." This shows us that we all, male or female, young or old, are called upon to be myrrh-bearers.

In English, His Grace spoke on the reading from Acts, where the "murmuring of the Græcians against the Hebrews" led to the calling of the seven deacons, among whom were St. Stephen the First Martyr, and Nicolas the Wayfarer or Proselyte, who is considered the First Heretic. This shows us that divine grace can bring us to sainthood, but we must not be blinded to the Holy Spirit by ethnic labels, as were the murmurers.

Upon conclusion of the service, the traditional Polychronion was intoned for the Patriarch, Metropolitan, bishop, and local clergy, and especially for the sisterhood. After the dismissal, Fr. Elias spoke briefly, extending festal greetings and thanks, and inviting all to the luncheon in the parish hall.

On the occasion of Myrrhbearers Sunday, the men of the parish organized and prepared a cookout luncheon, which the sisterhood was able to relax and enjoy. Upon its conclusion in the late afternoon, all returned to their homes with Paschal joy, thanking God.

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