On Saturday the 6th and Sunday the 7th of October, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, performed an archpastoral visit to the capital city of New York State to participate in and lead the 27th Annual Russian Orthodox Church Musicians’ Conference. The conference concluded with All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy, which were served in the Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Albany.
His Eminence was co-served by Archpriests Andrei Papkov (dean of Holy Virgin Diocesan Cathedral in Chicago, IL and Chairman of the Liturgical Music Commission of the Synod of Bishops of ROCOR), Alexis Duncan (parish rector), and Michael Fritz (parish cleric), Abbots Theophylact (Clapper-DeWell; cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY) and Tikhon (Gayfudinov; abbot of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ), and Protodeacons Vadim Gan (Synodal cleric), Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), and Michael Soloviev (parish cleric).
During the sixth hour, Metropolitan Hilarion tonsured parishioner Dennis Howard a reader.
The divine services were sung by a 70-person choir comprised of singers from across the United States and Canada, who came to participate in the music conference. Conducting the choir were various members and instructors of the Liturgical Music Commission of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Upon conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the choir and the faithful with a sermon, during which he said:
"I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone who participated in the Music Conference. The tradition of church music is so rich and it keeps growing, as was mentioned by some of the speakers at the conference. You are the reason that this tradition continues to grow and enrich the life of the Church. You are likened unto the five wise virgins from the parable that we heard in today’s Gospel reading. Five of them labored and filled their lamps with oil, while the other five did nothing and waited for help later.
"This oil symbolizes the virtues that a person acquires in the course of his life – the main virtues being love, mercy, and compassion. Christ wants us to acquire these virtues because, if we do not strive throughout the course of our life to work on ourselves, to be in synergy with God, then we cannot be saved. If we put in a small amount of our effort, then God will give us a great amount of mercy and strength so that we may grow as Christians. Let us strive to acquire all of these virtues, so that when we come to the Last Judgment, we will have something to show – not just our sins and emptiness, but the virtues – love, compassion, and forgiveness of other people. Then we will be like the five wise virgins whose lamps were full of oil."
More details about the 27th Annual Russian Orthodox Church Musicians’ Conference will be published on this site in the coming days.
Albany, NY: Metropolitan Hilarion leads Divine Services in Nativity of the Theotokos Church - 10/07/18
Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese - P. Lukianov