On Monday evening, March 12, the annual Lenten Retreat for clergy of the Eastern American Diocese convened in the Diocesan Center at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ. Clergy from across the Diocese were in attendance.
In accordance with recent tradition, the Retreat opened with Great Compline, served in Our Lady of Tikhvin Church, followed by a panihida for the departed diocesan hierarchs and clergy, especially for Metropolitan Laurus (Škurla; +2008), the fifth First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, the tenth anniversary of whose repose will occur on Friday, March 16. Also commemorated were the newly departed Schema-Archimandrite Averky (Shvetsov-Zagarsky; former diocesan cleric), Archimandrite Tikhon (Amelchenya), and Prince Vladimir K. Galitzine.
Leading the service was the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York. In addition to the Retreat attendees, praying in church were the two planned speakers: Bishop Nikolai (Soraich) from the Western American Diocese and Archpriest Gregory Joyce from the Mid-American Diocese.
The prayerful service proceeded under the aegis of the myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts," currently undertaking its annual travels to the parishes and monasteries of the Eastern American Diocese.
Upon completion of the panihida, dinner was served for all of the participants in the parish hall.