On Monday, May 14, the feast of the icon of the Mother of God "Unexpected Joy," Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York visited the church of the same name on Staten Island, NY, which was marking its patronal feast day, and celebrated Divine Liturgy there.
The First Hierarch was co-served by Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, Archpriest Serge Lukianov (diocesan secretary), Archpriest Alexander Belya (dean of New York City), Abbot Vladimir (Zgoba; parish rector), Archpriest Petro Kunitsky (cleric of Holy New Martyrs Church in Brooklyn, NY), Archpriest Paul Ivanov (rector of Holy Myrrhbearers Church in Brooklyn), Priest Alexander Revyuk (rector of Holy Trinity Church OCA in Brooklyn), Hieromonk Tikhon (Gayfudinov; abbot of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ), and Protodeacon Leonid Roschko (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell, NJ).
At the Little Entrance, for his dedication in the rebirth of the parish, Fr. Vladimir was awarded the right to wear the jeweled cross.
Parishioners and faithful from neighboring churches in the city came to pray during the festal services. Many of them communed of the Holy Mysteries of Christ.
Upon conclusion of the Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated the rector, clergy, and faithful with the ongoing days of Pascha, as well as their patronal feast day, and addressed the faithful with a sermon, in which he explained the history of the veneration of the icon of the Mother of God "Unexpected Joy," underscoring that we need the help, forgiveness, and intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos. The Mother of God always intercedes for us, despite our sins. Metropolitan Hilarion expressed his joy that he and Bishop Nicholas were able to participate in the feast, and urged the faithful to always pray that the Lord preserve us, and that we always remain faithful children of Christ’s Church.
In turn, Fr. Vladimir expressed his gratitude to the hierarchs and clergy for the attendance at the service, and for the prayerful help and assistance to the parish throughout the years of its existence. He also thanked Fr. Serge for his support and presented him a miter as a gift from the parish.
For their tireless, dedicated service on behalf of the church and parish, diocesan gramotas were bestowed upon parishioners: Tatiana Zagorulko, Olga & Michael Barbakov, Valentina Svetlichnaya; Kudrat Rakhimov, Vera & Oleksander Gramotovich, Ludmila Lazebnaya and Maria Chuvasheva.
Later outside the church, a delicious festal luncheon was organized, whereat interaction between the clergy and faithful continued. Parishioners also performed a concert of lyrical songs from various countries for the guests.