On January 15, the 31st Sunday after Pentecost, that before Theophany, and the date when the Holy Church honors the memory of Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America & New York celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Serving alongside the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad were: Archpriest Vasily Zelenyuk, Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral clerics), and Hierodeacon Panteleimon (Jigalin; diocesan cleric).
Singing at the divine services was the Synodal choir under the direction of conductor Vadim S. Gan.
Liturgy was held under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora – the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. Virtually all of the parishioners who gathered to honor the memory of St. Seraphim and to pray before the wonderworking icon of the Theotokos communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon completion of Liturgy, Metropolitan Nicholas addressed the faithful with a sermon, in which he said, in part:
"We stand at the threshold of the feast of the Lord’s Baptism (Theophany). The Lord gives us an image of complete humility. The Lord Himself, as a man, was without sin, but He gave us an example – how to leave the depths of the waters (the darkness) into the light, where the voice of God is.
"Today we heard about another voice. The Evangelist Mark tells us that the way for Christ the Savior was prepared by His Forerunner and Baptist John – the great prophet. He spoke important words: ‘Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’ (Matthew 4:17). And we must be prepared to enter into this Kingdom. So preached St. John the Baptist, and the Savior Himself opened this sacred path to us.
"St. John also says: ‘I baptize you with water, but He that cometh after me is mightier than I… He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 3:11). And God appeared on earth, and after the Lord’s Ascension into Heaven, the Holy Spirit sanctified the apostles, giving them the grace to preach and to save people. We also have this great opportunity to pray and to glorify the Holy Trinity – God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Lord gives us the opportunity to repent and grow closer to Him, to become like unto God. One who embraced this opportunity with his whole heart was Venerable Seraphim of Sarov, whom we honor and love. Today we honor his member on the feast of his glorification and the second finding of his relics (1991) in the restored St. Seraphim-Diveevo Convent. He heard the words of the Savior, became a new man, accepted monastic tonsure, and found that unity with God. We ought to follow his example.
"The life of this marvelous saint of God is tied to the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. As a child, Prochorus (as the saint was known in the world) was often sick, and his mother prayed to the Most Holy Theotokos for him to be healed. How many times have we also served molebens before the Kursk Root Icon, and how much have we received? And what do we give back to God? Let us thank the Lord for His mercies and strive to correct even the smallest aspects of our spiritual lives: let us come to church more often, pray more often, and do good works. All of this is possible for us."
A luncheon was then offered in the church hall for the clergy and faithful, prepared by the cathedral sisterhood.
New York City: On Sunday before Theophany, Metropolitan Nicholas celebrates Liturgy in Synodal Cathedral - 01/15/23
Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese - T. Veselkina