On the night of Saturday the 6th into Sunday the 7th of February, when the Holy Church honors the memory of the Synaxis of New Martyrs & Confessors of the Russian Church, a triumphal and prayerful service was held in honor of the saints in St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY. Parish rector Archpriest Serafim Gan and Protodeacon Paul Wolkow began the services with Matins at 10 o’clock in the evening. Following the practice observed at the Lord’s Tomb in Jerusalem, after the singing of the Great Doxology, the clergy began to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
Parishioners who gathered to honor the Holy New Martyrs had the chance to, quietly and in keeping with all established pandemic guidelines, pray and commune of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
In the center of the church, there was placed next to the icon of the Synaxis of the New Martyrs an icon of the Holy Patriarch Tikhon the Confessor and the Holy Nun-Martyrs of Alapaevsk ‒ the Grand Duchess Elizabeth and her co-sufferer, the Nun Barbara. The icon features reliquaries with pieces of the relics of the saints. The magnificent icon was painted in the Kiev Caves Lavra.
Parishioners were also able to pray before other sacred icons and relics in the church, including holy icons from the Ipatiev House, which in the 1960s were given to the church by the sister of the Russian Emperor, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna. Icons of the Savior "Not-Made-By-Hands" and of the Most Holy Theotokos "Tenderness" are preserved on the left side of the church in a kiot along with an icon of the "Reigning" Mother of God. An inscription on the back of one of the icons indicates that it belonged to the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Fr. Serafim delivered a sermon on the words of the Holy King David from Psalm 30: "Be ye manful, and let your heart be strengthened, all ye that hope in the Lord," in which he said, in part:
"These words reflect the attitude of the New Martyrs, how they faced the beastly acts committed during the persecutions. And it becomes clear that both Patriarch Tikhon and many other New Martyrs accepted these events as a trial permitted by God, went willingly to their deaths, and prayed for their persecutors, forgiving and blessing them. For us, the most difficult thing ‒ and simultaneously the most important ‒ is to follow their example and stand firm in the Faith, accepting God’s providence with humility and gratitude, knowing that this will lead us to salvation and eternal life."
The idea of a nighttime service was taken up by parishioners with great joy. A similar Liturgy was celebrated in the church to mark the centennial of the murder of the Royal Family. Additionally, every two years since 2012, the parish has performed a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where, at the Lord’s Tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, parishioners join the clergy in praying at the nighttime services.