On Wednesday, March 22, the feast of the Holy 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, the Great Lenten Retreat for clergy of the northern deaneries of the Eastern American Diocese concluded with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts in Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY.
Early in the morning – before sunrise – the clergy, monastics, and seminarians began the daily cycle of Lenten services with the Midnight Office, Matins, Hours, and Typica. Upon their conclusion, retreat attendees donned their vestments and lined up according to rank to greet His Eminence Nicholas, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, presiding over the work of the retreat for the first time since his election as First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad. He was co-served by monastery abbot Bishop Luke of Syracuse and over 100 diocesan and monastery clergy.
Singing antiphonally at Liturgy was the seminary choir – on the right kliros conducted by Deacon Nicholas Kotar, on the left by Priest Ephraim Willmarth.
At the Little Entrance, Metropolitan Nicholas awarded Priest Mathew Smith (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Endicott, NY) the right to wear the gold pectoral cross.
Despite the workday, many parishioners of the monastery including dozens of children came to pray at Liturgy, most of whom received Christ’s Holy Mysteries.
Upon conclusion of Liturgy, Metropolitan Nicholas addressed the assembled clergy with a sermon, underscoring the joys he felt during the almost eight hours of services that morning, and being among the clergy of the diocese. His Eminence invoked his blessing on the priests and deacons to continue their good labors for Christ’s Church, and to continue to diligently pray, having come to the midpoint of the Great Fast. He also expressed his gratitude to Bishop Luke and the monastery brotherhood for their hospitality during the conference.
A group photograph was taken of the clergy at the end of the retreat. All then gathered in the monastery refectory for a farewell meal before the priests and deacons embarked on their journeys back to their home parishes.
Jordanville, NY: Northern Lenten Clergy Retreat concludes with Presanctified Liturgy - 03/22/23
Photos: Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese - G. Konyev