On March 15, the second Sunday of Great Lent, dedicated to the Holy Hierarch Gregory Palamas, His Grace Nicholas, Bishop of Manhattan, visited Protection of the Mother of God Church in Rochester, NY. With this visit, he continued a renewed parish tradition, which was begun in the 1960s by Archbishop Averky (Taushev) and continued by Metropolitan Laurus (Škurla): every year, these archpastors would visit not only for the parish’s patronal feast, but also on the second Sunday of Great Lent.
Serving alongside the diocesan vicar at the divine services were Archimandrite Theophylact (Clapper-de Well; cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY) and parish clerics: rector Archpriest Gregory Naumenko, Protodeacon Andrej Strapko, and Deacon Nathan Reff.
Addressing worshippers with a sermon, Bishop Nicholas encouraged them to continue their struggles in the coming weeks of the Fast, in order to prepare themselves for the encounter with the Risen Christ on the joyous feast of Pascha.
After Divine Liturgy the parish sisterhood provided a plentiful Lenten meal for His Grace and the clergy. Because of the pandemic, parishioners could not participate in the meal, but were spiritually satiated by the majestic hierarchal services made possible by his visit.