From October 22-25, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York paid an archpastoral visit to St. Mary of Egypt Church in Roswell (Atlanta), GA, where he performed the great consecration of the church.
To the joy of the clergy and parishioners, on the eve of the consecration, the parish was able to extinguish the loan that had been taken out to help pay off the church building.
The First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad officiated the All-Night Vigil on Friday, October 23, and on Saturday, October 24, the great consecration was performed. Metropolitan Hilarion led the rite, after which he celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by: parish rector Abbot John (Townsend), Archpriest Dimitri Oselinsky (parish cleric, retired) Hieromonk Alexander (Lisnichuk; parish cleric), Priests Eugene Antonov (rector of Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Cumming (Atlanta)), Daniel Iliev (parish cleric), Elias Crowder (rector of St. Martin of Tours Mission in Montgomery, AL), Joseph Gagliano (chaplain of the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension in Resaca, GA), and Mikhail Beliakov (parish cleric), and Deacons Leo Opie (cleric of St. Nicholas Church in Palm Coast, FL) and Jude Rountree (parish cleric). Praying at the service was Priest Isaac Atalla (rector of Christ the Savior Mission in Chattanooga, TN).
On Sunday, October 25, Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated Divine Liturgy, co-served by the above-mentioned clergy, during which new minor and major clergy were ordained.
At the reading of the Hours, the First Hierarch tonsured regular parishioners George Bandar and Igor Paschenko readers, while Micah Marvin and Steven Sellers were ordained subdeacons. At the Little Entrance, for their dedicated service to the Holy Church and by resolution of the Synod of Bishops, Fr. John (Townsend) was elevated to the rank of archimandrite, while Frs. Daniel Iliev and Mikhail Beliakov were awarded the right to wear the nabedrennik. After the Eucharistic Canon, Subdeacon Peter Epstein was ordained to the diaconate.
A multitude of parishioners of various nationalities prayed at the divine services. A majority of these communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, His Eminence congratulated the newly awarded, tonsured, and ordained, wishing them God’s aid in their service to the Holy Church and thanking God for a successful consecration of the church.
Parishioners were informed that, with Metropolitan Hilarion’s blessing, a skete dedicated to the Venerable Elders of Optina will be opened at the church, which will be led by Archimandrite John and Hieromonk Alexander. The goal of the skete is to ensure constant prayer in the church, with a gradual transition to daily celebration of the Liturgy here. Currently, Divine Liturgy is celebrated on Wednesday, Saturdays, and Sundays. On days when no Liturgy is celebrated, Midnight Office and Small Compline are served.
A luncheon was served in the parish refectory, during which parishioners joyously interacted with the clergy. The First Hierarch’s visit to St. Mary of Egypt Church took place in an atmosphere of spiritual uplift and sincere joy.