On Sunday the 6th and Monday the 7th of January, the great feast of the Nativity according to the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, festal services were held in New York City’s Synodal Cathedral of the Sign. On January 7, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York celebrated Divine Liturgy in the cathedral. Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad was Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan.
Since their main St. Sava Cathedral burned down in 2016, New York City’s Serbian Orthodox community prayerfully celebrated Christ’s Nativity for a third time in the Cathedral of the Sign. This year, Bishop Irinej of Eastern America concelebrated with Metropolitan Hilarion. The hierarchs were joined by: cathedral senior priest Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Luka Novakovic (cleric of St. Nicholas Monastery in North Ft. Myers, FL), Abbot Tikhon (Gayfudinov; rector of Holy Protection Skete in Buena, NJ), Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, and Deacon Pavel Roudenko (cathedral clerics), and clergy of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Despite its being a weekday, the church was full of worshippers for the radiant feast: Russians, Ukrainians, Americans, Serbs. Singing prayerfully at the service was the expanded Synodal choir under the direction of conductor Peter Fekula.
Two priest confessed the parishioners – one Russian and one Serb – and a majority of the faithful communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Fr. Tikhon read aloud the Nativity Epistle of Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow & All Russia.
Metropolitan Hilarion greeted Bishops Irinej and Nicholas, congratulating the clergy and faithful with the feast of Christ’s Nativity and expressing his joy at Orthodox Serbs and Russians praying together on this holy day.
Bishop Irinej expressed his gratitude to the clergy and faithful of the Russian Church Abroad for the love that that Serbian clergy and faithful had felt for the past three years, since they lost their diocesan cathedral.
"And despite the fact that we do not have a place of our own, we have you, your love, this cathedral," said Bishop Irinej. "We hope that, once we have a roof above our heads once more – our restored cathedral – we will be glad to pray there and to commemorate this family that you have become for us, and to remember the friends that we have gained in the clergy and faithful of the Russian Church Abroad."
"Thank you for keeping the Faith, for preserving your national identity and the values of Russian society, despite finding yourselves so far from your historic homeland."
The cathedral sisterhood and Serbian guests organized a festal luncheon for the clergy, parishioners, and visitors, during which brotherly interaction continued.
New York City: Christ’s Nativity in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign - 01/07/19