On February 19, Meatfare Sunday, that of the Dread Judgement, Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America & New York celebrated Divine Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City.
Concelebrating with the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad were: Archpriests Andrei Sommer (cathedral dean), David Straut (rector of St. Elizabeth the New-Martyr Church in Rocky Hill, NJ), Emilian Hutnyan (rector of St. Andrew Church OCA in Maple Heights, OH), and Vasily Zelenyuk (cleric of Holy Dormition Convent "Novo-Diveevo" in Nanuet, NY), Protodeacons Nicolas Mokhoff (cathedral cleric), Serge Arlievsky (cleric of Novo-Diveevo Convent), and Seraphim Komleski, and Deacon Michael Fiocca (clerics of St. Elizabeth Church).
Beautifully singing the divine service 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 wonderworking Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God. Parishioners of the cathedral and St. Elizabeth Church prayed at the service, along with the now traditional presence of Serbian faithful. Most present communed of Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
During the reading of the Hours, Thomas Sietsema was tonsured a reader for St. Elizabeth Church.
After the Great Entrance, Metropolitan Nicholas ordained Deacon Michael Fiocca to the priesthood.
Upon completion of Liturgy, His Eminence greeted all with the feast and welcomed the parishioners of St. Elizbeth Church, who on this Sunday were able to come and pray at Liturgy in the Synodal Cathedral, commune, and venerate the wonderworking Kursk Root Icon and the holy relics of the Venerable Martyrs Elizabeth and Nun Barbara.
In his sermon, Metropolitan Nicholas noted that "in these days we are preparing for Great Lent, and we must hear what the Church tells us, trying to instruct us all. In these days, our thoughts are often at the table: how we might host and spend the days of Cheesefare Week. Breaking bread together is important, and it is important for our families to gather together, sharing warmth and support. Thus, Christ Himself gives us an example, sharing a meal with His disciples. However, the Apostle Paul clearly tells us that food does not commend us to God… And, as we know, the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27). And one must not show others how he fasts. The Apostle reminds us that we must fast, spiritually strengthening ourselves and growing, showing love to all, being humble, not tempting and not giving lessons to one another. And if we need to be humble anyone, it is only ourselves. I hope that in these preparatory days and during Great Lent we will do exactly that. Let us set aside all that is not necessary an fast, preparing ourselves for Passion Week and Holy Pascha."
A luncheon was then served in the parish hall for the clergy and faithful. Those who wished to were able to enjoy bliny, caviar, and fish, in order to celebrate the upcoming Cheesefare Week with one another.
New York City: On Meatfare Sunday, Metropolitan Nicholas celebrates Liturgy, performs Priestly Ordination in Synodal Cathedral - 02/19/23
Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese - T. Veselkina