After the ROCOR Council of Bishops completed its work in Munich, His Grace George, Bishop of Canberra (vicar of the Diocese of Australia & New Zealand) paid an archpastoral visit to the Eastern American Diocese. On Saturday the 15th and Sunday the 16th of June, Bishop George led the divine servicesin New York City’s Synodal Cathedral of the Sign, co-served by Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan (vicar of the Eastern American Diocese).
Later that week, His Grace traveled to Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, WV, of which he had served as abbot from the time of his episcopal consecration in 2008 until his reassignment to Australia in 2014. Bishop George led the divine services on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, co-served by monastery clergy. During his visit, the former abbot was acquainted with the many changes and improvements the quickly expanding brotherhood had made since his last visit, including the new candle factory and reception room, and spoke with new members of the monastic community.
His Grace also traveled to the monastery’s satellite skete of St. John the Theologian in Hiram, OH, which has also been undergoing significant renovation since being bequeathed to Holy Cross Monastery in 2013. From there, Bishop George traveled to Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, where he had lived and labored since 1976 as a novice, hieromonk, and eventually archimandrite before his elevation to the episcopacy. On Friday, June 30, he led the All-Night Vigil for the feast of the Holy Hierarch John of Shanghai & San Francisco. After communing the following morning, His Grace departed for New York City, where he again visited the Synodal Headquarters. He led the All-Night Vigil, co-served by cathedral senior priest Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Archimandrite Augustine (Nikitin; professor at St. Petersburg Theological Academy), Abbot Eutychius (Dovganyuk) and Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral clerics).
The following morning, Bishop George celebrated Divine Liturgy entirely in English in St. Sergius Mission Chapel at the Synodal Headquarters, co-served by Hieromonk Zosimas (Krampis; mission cleric), Protodeacon Dionysius Lvov (Synodal cleric), and Deacon Matthew Keil (cleric of Holy Annunciation Church in Flushing, NY). In his sermon on the Gospel reading of the healing of the centurion’s servant, His Grace said, in part:
"Today we heard in the Gospel reading the edifying story of the centurion, who had such compassion in his servant that he came to the Savior, asking for His healing. The centurion, who was a pagan, nevertheless had been in Capernaum, where many of the miracles of Christ were performed, and many came from all over to be healed. The centurion realized that these were genuine miracles, and that Christ could heal his servant. In this Gospel reading, we see an example not just of the faith of the centurion, but also of his love and compassion for his servant.
"The centurion had many men serving under him and was very wealthy, having even built a synagogue for the local Jews; you might think that one servant would mean nothing to him, that he might have many others with which to replace him… He also showed his great humility, by coming to Christ and saying to Him, ‘Lord, You do not even need to come to my house, but say the word, and my servant will be healed.’ The Lord remarked in response to this that He had not seen such faith in all of Judæa. Indeed, our Lord indicates here that there will be those among the gentiles who will have a place at Abraham’s table, while many of the Jews would not, as they did not possess such faith.
"This is probably true of many of us; even though we are among the members of the Church of Christ, who knows how close we are to Christ. Do we have such love and compassion and faith as the centurion did? Do we have the humility that he had? We must work on ourselves, examining the Gospel readings as they come, realizing that they are there for our edification and instruction, to help us enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."
After a light lenten breakfast, Bishop George departed for the airport and returned to Australia.