On April 30, the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearers, St. Andrew Patriarchal Naval Cathedral in Philadelphia, PA celebrated the 120th anniversary of its founding. At the invitation of the Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA, Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, the Divine Liturgy on the momentous occasion was led by the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, co-served by Eastern American Diocesan Vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and Bishop John.
The hierarchs were joined by parish and visiting clergy:
- Archpriest Mark Shinn (cathedral rector)
- Archpriest Serge Lukianov (Eastern American Diocesan secretary)
- Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov; cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City)
- Archpriest Yaroslav Lutoshkin (cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral)
- Priest Alexander Tsygankov (cathedral cleric)
- Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ)
- Protodeacon Dionysius Lvov (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City)
- Deacon Mark Rashkov (cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral)
- Deacon Evgeny Iotov (cathedral cleric)
The festal Divine Liturgy was graced by the presence of the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God, Protectress of the Russian Diaspora.
Praying in the church were the Russian Military and Naval Attachés in the United States, Captain 1st Class Mikhail Kozyrin and Sergey Sadchikov, respectively.
After communion of Christ’s Holy Mysteries, the archpastors led a procession around the cathedral. Upon its completion, a thanksgiving moleben was served.
At the conclusion of the service, Metropolitan Hilarion greeted the gathered faithful, congratulating the rector, clergy, and parishioners of St. Andrew Cathedral on the historic occasion.
In his greeting, Bishop John noted the importance of the cathedral’s anniversary coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the Patriarchate and the 10th anniversary of the Reestablishment of Canonical Unity within the Russian Orthodox Church. "Preparing for this occasion," His Grace said, in part, "I made a point to read the sermon delivered by the Holy Hierarch Tikhon, future Patriarch of all Russia, when he was still Archbishop of North America, 110 years ago at the consecration of this cathedral. This wise saint called on his flock to live up to the name given to Philadelphia – the city of brotherly love. The violation of the God-ordained unity in Christ and brotherly love was what led to this long and painful division. By God’s mercy, ten years ago, the clergy and faithful of the two parts of the Russian Orthodox arrived at this long-desired unity, and the intervening time has only strengthened our desire for brotherly fellowship and joint ministry. Giving thanks to the Risen Lord for His mercy, we have chosen to begin the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Reunification of the Russian Church here, with the celebration of this Divine Liturgy in Philadelphia’s St. Andrew Cathedral. We will have many more opportunities to concelebrate the divine services, both here in the United States and especially in the Primatial See of Moscow, where celebrations will be led by His Holiness, Patriarch Kyrill, to interact with one another, and to ponder this great event in our lives."
Archpriest Mark Shinn expressed his gratitude to the hierarchs for their participation in the joyous occasion for his parish, and presented each of them with icons of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called, painted by master iconographers in Moscow.
In recognition of their diligent labors in the parish, Bishop John presented parish warden Robert Klein and head sister of the cathedral sisterhood Neonila Kostyuk with hierarchal gramotas.
Interaction between the hierarchs, clergy, and faithful continued during a festal banquet held in the cathedral refectory.