On November 22, the 24th Sunday after Pentecost and the date when the Holy Church honors the memory of the Holy Hierarch Nektarios of Aegina, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
Concelebrating with His Grace were cathedral clerics: dean Archpriest Andrei Sommer and Archpriest Edward Chervinsky, as well as Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY). Praying in the altar was Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.
The service was held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora ‒ the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God.
The Synodal choir sang prayerfully. Most of the parishioners who came to pray at Liturgy communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, His Grace greeted the clergy and faithful with the feast of the saint and the Lord’s Day, and read aloud Metropolitan Hilarion’s Jubilee Epistle on the occasion of the 725th anniversary of the appearance of the Kursk Icon and the centennial of the formation of the Higher Church Authority Abroad, which would later be reorganized into the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad. The epistle reads, in part:
"Unfortunately, this jubilee year, not to mention the past Great Lent and the feast of the Resurrection of Christ, have been obscured by the general quarantine connected with the Coronavirus. I recall, during the most difficult days of this destructive pestilence, that one physician who is a parishioner wrote to one of our clergymen: "This pandemic should force us to think about much. It is a signal from on High, that we would begin to care for the most important thing." And the most important thing during this trial is to follow the royal path in life, in our mutual relations with our neighbor and in our service to the Church, avoiding panic on the one hand and irresponsible behavior on the other, while entrusting ourselves and others to the will of God, which is both all-good and salvific. It is the caring and respectful interaction we have for one another. It is regard for the preservation of unity in our church community, so that we can come out from this trial as a strong and gracious parish family."
In closing, the Metropolitan called on the faithful to remember that "only goodness and a sincere desire to help our neighbor create the foundation upon which it is possible to build something virtuous and wise in our society. Anything else shall most certainly fall apart. Purpose in life emerges when faith in, and the striving toward, God are present, along with the ideals and values that are confessed in the Gospel of Christ. It is imperative that we learn this independently of where we live and what views we hold. Above all, we should at least remain honorable and respectable people, interacting with our neighbors well-manneredly and humanely, so that when they look at us Orthodox, they will not be ashamed to call us their friends. This is our spiritual and moral minimum."