On Tuesday, July 17, the feast of the Russian Royal Martyrs, Bishop Jerome paid an archpastoral visit to St. Panteleimon Church in Hartford, CT, where he celebrated Divine Liturgy. This year the service was especially solemn, as it marks the 100th anniversary of the brutal murder of the last Russian emperor and his family.
Greeting His Grace at the entrance to the church were parish rector Archpriest Dionisy Nalitov, Archpriest Brendan Crowley (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Enfield, CT), and Deacons Alexey Pnev (cleric of Nativity of the Mother of God Church at the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY) and Eugene Utnyukhin (parish cleric).
The choir sang prayerfully under the direction of conductor Nicholas Semyanko; despite the weekday schedule, there was a large turnout in church, including many young people.
Upon completion of the service, Bishop Jerome delivered a sermon on the words, "If God is for us, who [can go] against us?" But for God to be on our side, His Grace added, we must be on the Lord’s side. The error of the Bolsheviks, though they did not recognize God, was to think that the future was on their side and would cover for all of their cruelty, murder, and destruction: but history has not been on their side, and what they achieved was only the evil they did, starting with the murders of the Imperial family.
Liturgy was followed by a moleben to the Holy Royal Martyrs, with a procession around the church. The sisterhood served a bountiful luncheon, and even the thunderstorm and rain that came later that day held off, as it were, until after the events at the church had drawn to a close.