On Sunday, July 18, Eastern American Diocesan vicar Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan paid an archpastoral visit to St. Elizabeth the New-Martyr Church in Rocky Hill, NJ, not far from Princeton. There His Grace celebrated led the Divine Liturgy in honor of the parish’s patronal feast day – that of the Holy Nun-Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna.
Greeting Bishop Nicholas with bread and salt, parishioner Pavel L’vov offered this greeting: "We welcome you to the Orthodox Church of St. Elizabeth the New-Martyr here in Rocky Hill for the feast of our Heavenly patroness, the venerable Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth, and the 23rd anniversary of the founding of our parish. As you know, St. Elizabeth’s Church is the one church of our Eastern American Diocese in New Jersey that is an English-language parish. It has attracted many converts to Orthodoxy, both individuals and families; but in the last few years it has also attracted many families from Russia and Ukraine. We welcome you, dear Vladyka, and always enjoy your visits with us."
Concelebrating with Bishop Nicholas were: Archpriest David Straut (parish rector), Protodeacons Paul Drozdowski (cleric of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Howell, NJ), Peter Markevich (cleric of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NJ), and Seraphim Komleski (parish cleric), and Deacons Michael Pavuk (cleric of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield, PA), Stephanos Bibas (cleric of Joy of All Who Sorrow Church in Philadelphia, PA), Deacon Daniel Brown (parish cleric). Also praying in the altar was Archpriest Nikolai Zhuravskiy (cleric of the Georgian Orthodox Church).
The choir sang prayerfully under the direction of Innokenty Yanovsky, who was tonsured a reader during the Sixth Hour.
The church was filled with worshippers, nearly all of whom partook of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon conclusion of Liturgy, an short moleben to St. Elizabeth was sung. His Grace then offered a brief sermon, in which he reminded the faithful that the prayers which were being offered in that small church were being added to those also offered in Gethsemane, where the relics of Sts. Elizabeth and Barbara are enshrined, and that such prayers united all of us believers.
The Protodeacons intoned the Polychronion, and Bishop Nicholas greeted everyone with the feast and congratulated them on the parish’s 23rd anniversary; he especially congratulated Fr. David, who this year is celebrating the 35th anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate and priesthood. His Grace blessed Fr. David with a copy of the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God "Joy of All Who Sorrow," kept in the lower Church of St. Sergius at Synodal Headquarters.
After the service, having been blessed with beautiful weather, a bountiful festal luncheon was enjoyed by all in the open air pavilion behind the church.