On October 26-27, the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, His Grace, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Luke of Syracuse, came from Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY to Saints Theodore Church in Buffalo, NY, where he led the celebrations in honor of the parish church’s 50th anniversary. It was on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers in 1969 that Archbishop Averky (Taushev; +1976) of blessed memory visited Sts. Theodore Church to consecrate its temple.
Bishop Luke led the divine services, co-served by parish clergy: rector Priest John Boddecker and Deacons Andrew and George Hammond. The service of the clergy was accompanied by the beautiful singing of the parish choir, led by its dedicated director, Justin Kawa.
Upon conclusion of Divine Liturgy, Bishop Luke delivered an inspiring homily, highlighting the importance of prayer shared in common amongst the faithful in the church. He admonished the people to bear in mind that while they give thanks to God on the anniversary of the consecration of the church which they have founded, embellished, and maintained, they should recognize that they can only receive the grace and gifts of the Divine Mysteries in the Church if they embellish and maintain the temple of their own hearts by prayer, fasting, and the struggle to keep the Faith and Christ’s commandments.
After the sermon, Bishop Luke blessed a new bell donated to the church by the family of Reader Daniel Watkins, which is the first bell acquired for the parish as part of a projected plan to outfit the church with an entire set of bells.
Following the blessing of the bell, Bishop Luke presented a diocesan gramota from Metropolitan Hilarion to Natalie Moczerniak in recognition of her faithful service to the parish manifested by, among other things, her work as long-time treasurer.
Fr. John said a few words thanking Bishop Luke for his attendance at the celebration of the anniversary of the consecration and noting the propriety that he as Archbishop Averky’s successor should be the one present to mark this milestone in the history of Saints Theodore Church.
After Liturgy, the parish sisterhood, under the leadership of head sister Anastasia Nikolaeva provided a bountiful festal meal. Prior to his departure, Bishop Luke offered some parting words to the community, commending them on the solemnity of the liturgical services and charging them all with the Great Commission to be evangelists and missionaries, drawing their families and friends into the true Church of Christ.
Through the prayers of the Holy Great Martyrs Theodore Stratelates and Theodore Tyro, may God strengthen us to carry out this vision into the future!
Priest John Boddecker