19, 2010 Red Bank,
NJ: Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated the Divine Liturgy in St.
Nicholas Church and blessed the Navesink River
Tuesday, January 19, the great feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, the
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, His Eminence Hilarion,
Metropolitan of Eastern American and New York, visited St. Nicholas
Church in Red Bank, NJ, and celebrated the Divine Liturgy. His
Eminence was co-served by parish rector and diocesan secretary
Archpriest Serge Lukianov, Archpriest Joseph Lickwar (rector of Sts.
Peter & Paul Church in Jersey City, NJ), diocesan treasurer Priest
Jonah Campbell, and parish Deacon Leonid Roschko. During the Little
Entrance, in accordance with a resolution of the ROCOR Synod, Fr.
Serge was awarded the right to wear the jeweled cross. Upon completion
of the Liturgy, the Metropolitan performed the rite of the Great
Blessing of the Water and led a procession through the city to the
Navesink River. On the riverbank, His Eminence proclaimed the festal
Gospel reading, blessed the river waters and released a white dove.
The Metropolitan then gave his blessing to two servants of God from
Kursk to jump into the Navesink River, continuing an old Russian
tradition. Simultaneously, the clergy and parish children released
doves over the river, representative of the Holy Spirit, Who descended
upon the Savior in the Jordan. After the procession, Metropolitan
Hilarion greeted the parishioners with the great feast and noted how
pleasant it was to see that old Russian Theophany customs continue to
be performed abroad. In his response, Fr. Serge thanked His Eminence
for his archpastoral visit to Red Bank and presented him with a new
white miter on behalf of the parish. A bountiful luncheon was held in
the parish hall.