His Grace Bishop Pakhomy of Pokrovsk and Nikolaevsk and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan celebrated a Baptismal Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral in the city of Pokrovsk (previously known as Engels) on August 26. Thirteen people were baptized and partook of the Holy Mysteries of Christ.
“Today’s service is a special joy for us, because Vladyka Nikolai is visiting us. He came to Russia from America, being the caretaker of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign,” which is visiting our diocese. The Lord, as He ascended to the heavens, said: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’ (Matthew 28:19). The Apostles went to enlighten the world, and thousands received Baptism. You, Vladyka, being a faithful member of the Russian Church Abroad, like an apostle, bring faith there on American soil. That is why I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Lord has led you to be present at this Liturgy, during which the Church obtained new Christians. I thank you for finding the time to visit the diocese of Pokrovsk and share with us the joy of prayer. I wish you Divine aid and strength in your service,” said Bishop Pakhomy after Liturgy.
In response, Bishop Nicholas thanked his host and all in attendance, noting: “Today’s service is a great mercy from God for me and my fellow-travelers. We became witnesses of new Christians joining the Church and the resurrection of an ancient tradition. I think that many remember such moments, when they receive baptism or when they turn to God. We all receive the Mystery of Holy Unction during our baptism, the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit. It happens, though, that we sin and move away from this grace. So it is during such days as today that we must remember that we are called upon to serve God, the Resurrected Savior. Thank you, Vladyka, for this remarkable divine service and your kind words. I will never forget this service. We live in different parts of the world, but I think that in our hearts and souls we will always be together, for we are united by the Lord,” said Vladyka Nicholas.
As a memento for the occasion, he gave Bishop Pakhomy an icon of St Seraphim of Sarov, and paper icons blessed on the ancient Kursk-Root Icon to the parishioners. Bishop Pakhomy in turn gave Vladyka Nicholas a painted icon of St Nicholas the Miracle-worker.
Bishop Nicholas congratulated the newly-baptized on their entry into the Church and offered his blessing. They were then giving certificates of baptism and copies of the New Testament and prayer books.
The new Christians also remarked on how important this day was for them: “There is lightness and peace in my soul, joy that now I am part of the Church,” said Svetlana Kolosovskaya. “I am very happy that I have obtained God and new brothers and sisters in spirit,” said her brother Alexander. Nadezhda Sagandykova noted that in her approaching God and uniting with Him, she obtained hope for His aid. Vladimir Vdalov long prepared for this day. He read the Gospel and the Holy Fathers, made pilgrimages to holy sites. Now he says that he feels genuine spiritual joy: “My soul is simply soaring. I thank God that He called me and accepted me.”