On Saturday the 15th and Sunday the 16th of September, the parishioners of the New Kursk Root Hermitage in Mahopac, NY held their annual celebrations in honor of the forthcoming patronal feast day of the hermitage’s main church, dedicated to the Nativity of the Most Holy Theotokos.
At All-Night Vigil on Saturday, His Grace, Bishop Jerome, led the Litia and Polyeleos, in the presence of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora – the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God.
On Sunday morning, there was an earlier, "lesser" greeting of Bishop Jerome, followed by a second, "greater" greeting of Archbishop Gabriel of Montreal & Canada upon his arrival. Concelebrating with the hierarchs at Divine Liturgy was the parish clergy: Priest George Temidis, and Deacon Alexey Pnev, as well as Archpriest Alexnader Donchenko (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Poughkeepsie, NY) and Protodeacon Dimitri Temidis (cleric of Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY).
The Epistle and Gospel were, as is customary, read in both Slavonic and English. Especially moving were the new petitions added to the Augmented Litany, approved by the Holy Synod of the Russian Church and being read for the first time. The faithful prayed diligently for peace in the Ukrainian land and for the unity of all Orthodox Christians.
Archbishop Gabriel delivered the sermon, in which he outlined the events in the life of the Kursk Icon in the past and present, and what we should hope and strive for in the future, through the prayers of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Due to the large number of communicants, the Holy Gifts were administered from two chalices. Liturgy was followed by a moleben to the Mother of God, with the traditional procession around the church.
After Liturgy, an abundant luncheon was served for all in attendance. A Georgian-language Liturgy was simultaneously celebrated that morning in the hermitage’s "summer church." The two Liturgies were so timed that they concluded together, and the Georgian parishioners then joined in the luncheon. So many people came that the refectory could not accommodate them all, and there was a number of outdoor tables on the terrace and in several areas on the church grounds. People stayed and socialized late into the day.
After the luncheon, the two hierarchs and several of the clergy and altar servers inspected the ruined premises of the former Synodal candle factory.