On Sunday, April 21, the great feast of the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem, also known by Christians as Palm Sunday, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. His Grace was co-served by cathedral clergy: senior priest Archpriest Andrei Sommer, Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, and Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff.
Arriving in the cathedral the evening prior was the myrrh-streaming icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts," under whose aegis the divine services were held. The church was filled with worshippers. Many of the faithful from parishes of New York and local states gathered to pray and venerate the wonderworking icon gathered, many of whom received Christ’s Holy Mysteries. Communion was distributed from three chalices. Prayerfully singing was an expanded choir under the direction of Peter Fekula.
Upon conclusion of the service, Bishop Nicholas congratulated the clergy and parishioners with the feast and greeted them with a sermon, in which he said, in part:
"The Lord opens to us the path, and we go with Him to Jerusalem, entering the days of Passion Week, where we may be witness not the earthly glory of Jesus Christ, but His Heavenly glory. And it depends on us how we will meet the Savior: as an earthly king, or as the King of Heaven – the vanquisher of hell and death.
"In Bethany, the Russian Church Abroad has a plot of land. There is a Russian school for girls, where our nuns work; there is a cave church, there is a true church dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ; there is a chapel in which there is a historic stone with an inscription in Greek that on this spot Christ talked with Martha and Mary about the resurrection of the dead and the future life. At this place where Christ visited Righteous Lazarus, Martha, and Mary, we built a chapel in remembrance of Christ’s raising of His friend Lazarus and His entrance to Jerusalem. Yesterday a solemn service was served.
"On the feast of the Mother of God and special days of revered icons in her honor, the Gospel of Luke is read during the service, where it tells us that Christ came 'to a certain village,’ where a woman named Martha took Him to her home, rejoicing. That place was Bethany. Mary was there, as well. She sat down at the feet of Jesus Christ and listened to His words. Martha cared for how best to receive the great guest and wanted Mary to help her too, to which Christ said that Mary ‘hath chosen that good part.’
"Why is this Gospel passage read on feasts of the Mother of God? This is done in memory of the Theotokos, that she accepted a great obedience from the Archangel Gabriel, that she would bear the Son of God, and humbly saying, ‘Behold, the handmaiden of the Lord,’ she chose that good part: to remain with the Lord and to become the Mother of God. For us, this is an example of the fact that we should also choose the good part. Let us ask God for help to choose the good part that we need for our salvation."
Bishop Nicholas called on believers to remember the monastics in the Holy Land, working under difficult conditions in Jerusalem and in Bethlehem, in Tabor, and in Nazareth, and called for generous response to their needs.
His Grace also expressed his gratitude to the guardian of the myrrh-streaming icon of the Mother of God, Sergei Fomin, for his annual visitation of churches and monasteries of the Diocese during Great Lent.
On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate, Bishop Nicholas congratulated cathedral Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff, and presented him a white liturgical vestment set: a double orarion and cuffs. His Grace intoned the Polychronion to Fr. Nicolas.
Afterward, Bishop Nicholas anointed the clergy and believers with holy myrrh from the myrrh-streaming icon. The cathedral sisterhood arranged a festal meal in the cathedral hall for clergy and parishioners.
During a visit to the Synodal Cathedral, Bishop Nicholas and Sergei Fomin, brought the icon “Softener of Evil Hearts” to parishioners who could not come to the cathedral themselves.
New York City: Bishop Nicholas leads Divine Services for Palm Sunday in Synodal Cathedral - 04/21/19