On Monday, November 6, the feast day of the Icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow," Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York paid an archpastoral visit to Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Philadelphia, PA, in honor of the parish’s patronal feast.
His Eminence celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by Archpriest Liubo Milosevich (rector of Holy Trinity Church in Vineland, NJ), Priest Gregory Winsky (cleric of St. Michael MP Church in Philadelphia), parish rector Priest Valery Sukholobov, Protodeacon Dionysius Lvov (cleric of the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City), and Deacon Stephanos Bibas (cleric of St. Elizabeth the New-Martyr Church in Rocky Hill, NJ).
The divine services were held under the aegis of the myrrh-streaming icon of the Holy Righteous Anna, Mother of the Most Holy Theotokos, which for many years abode in Joy of All Who Sorrow Church, and today is kept at St. Tikhon’s Monastery OCA in South Canaan, PA.
Prior to the start of Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion tonsured parish acolyte Ashot Badikian a reader, as well as Christopher LePage, whom His Eminence then ordained a subdeacon. After the Eucharistic Canon, Subdeacon Christopher was ordained a deacon. The newly ordained deacon – a former Anglican priest – is to be ordained a priest the following day, and will fulfill his missionary service on Prince Edward Island in Canada.
Many parishioners and guests communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the gathered faithful with a sermon, in which he said, in part: "Today we celebrate the memory of the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God, called ‘Joy of All Who Sorrow,’ the heavenly protectress of this parish and this holy temple. The Most Pure Virgin Mary, having endured so many sorrows in her earthly life, is very tenderhearted toward all those who suffer, all those who are bereaved. This is why she prays for people, for all those who turn to her and to her Divine Son. This was especially felt by the Russian people, who 1,000 years ago received the Christian Faith, and so mercifully did she deal with our forebears, that a multitude of wonderworking icons of the Mother of God appeared, many of whom were associated with great miracles in the history of our land, before which prayed princes, patriarchs, warriors, and the entire people of God. Christ the Savior, through the prayers of His Mother, helped the Russian people, and thus Russia often came to be called the ‘abode of the Most Holy Theotokos.’ She continues to pour out this grace upon us to this very day."
His Eminence congratulated Fr. Valery and all of the parishioners on the occasion of their patronal feast day, thanked the concelebrating clergy for their joint prayer, and offered words of instruction to the new reader and deacon, wishing them God’s aid in their new arena of service to the Holy Church.
After the service, a bountiful luncheon was offered for the clergy and faithful in the parish hall, during which Fr. Valery offered words of greeting to the Metropolitan, and words of congratulations to parishioners and all those who in recent days had celebrated their namesday.