On April 10, Bright Tuesday, the third day of Pascha, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York celebrated Divine Liturgy in Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ. Before the start of Liturgy, the clergy in the altar sang the Paschal Hours, then went out to personally greet the metropolitan. At the doors of the church, he was greeted by the warden with a traditional Paschal kulich and colored eggs.
His Eminence was co-served by Archimandrite Elveferiy (Skiba, dean of Inexhaustible Chalice Church in Brooklyn); Archpriest Serge Lukianov, diocesan secretary; Abbot Vladimir (Zgoba, rector of Unexpected Joy Church on Staten Island, NY); Archpriest Boris Slootsky, (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ); Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov, abbot of the skete); Hieomonk Lavr (Solomonov, cleric of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church); Priest Anatoly Revitsky (skete cleric) and Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral).
During the Divine Liturgy, for his dedicated service, Metropolitan Hilarion awarded the nabedrennik to Fr. Anatoly Revitsky.
Believers from neighboring states flocked for the feast. A great joy for the clergy and parishioners was the participation for the first time for the festal services was the holy icon of the Mother of God, “Softener of Evil Hearts” visiting from Moscow.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, the clergy and faithful carried gonfalons and icons singing the exclamation “Christ is Risen” around the church.
His Eminence congratulated the clergy and parishioners with the feast of the Bright Resurrection of Christ, thanking the clergy for their joint prayers, also greeting the singers, altar servers and those praying for visiting the holy skete, in order to greet the Lord, risen from the dead.
Metropolitan Hilarion expressed his gratitude to Fr. Tikhon, who has tirelessly worked on the rebirth of the skete, performing renovations and beautifying the church itself and adjacent properties and wished him good health and God’s help.
His Eminence then thanked the guardian of the myrrh-streaming icon, Sergei Fomin who was able to travel with the icon to the church, bringing joy and comfort to the clergy and pilgrims.
In turn, the rector of the skete, Fr. Tikhon reminded all of the gospel reading for the day, how the Lord in the few days after His resurrection, went with his disciple Luke and Cleopas to Emmaus. His disciples then told him was occurring in Jerusalem, not understanding who was going with them, treating Him like a stranger.
"Likewise, we cannot fully understand what grace has visited us, how generously the Lord has poured out His mercy upon us – said Fr. Tikhon – this grace is measured three times, four times, and all together has merged into one holiday - the Resurrection of Christ, the hierarch’s visit, the Mother of God through Her myrrh-streaming icon ... And we did not even believe that our skete could accommodate into the tight schedule of the icon's travels, and that the holy icon would not only be able to visit our temple, but also visit during the Paschal service. This is the third miraculous icon that has visited our monastery since its opening. Now we have been visited by the Kursk Root, Hawaiian-Iveron, and now, the Softener of Evil Hearts” icons of the Mother of God. And so we have a hope that the Mother of God is with us and we are good. "Fr. Tikhon thanked Metropolitan Hilarion for prayers and support, as well as the pilgrims who came to the hermitage.
All those gathered were anointed with myrrh from the icon and were invited to a festal reception, where friendly interaction continued with Metropolitan Hilarion and the clergy.