On Thursday, November 1, the feast of Venerable John of Kronstadt, clergy and believers triumphally commemorated the namesday of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America &New York, in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City. Since the feast of Venerable Hilarion, Schemamonk of the Kiev Caves (Nov. 3) coincided this year with St. Demetrius Soul Saturday, the celebration of His Eminence’s namesday was moved to November 1.
Clergy of the Eastern American Diocese, as well as parishioners of the cathedral and other churches of the Diocese, gathered to pray for the health of their archpastor. The moleben was led by Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, co-served by diocesan clerics: Archpriest Alexander Belya (dean of New York City), Archimandrite Maximos (Weimar; abbot of St. Dionysios the Aeropagite Monastery in St. James, NY), Archpriest Andrei Sommer (cathedral senior priest), Abbot Vladimir (Zgoba; rector of Our Lady “Unexpected Joy” Church in Staten Island, NY), Archpriest Petro Kunitsky (cleric of New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia Church in Brooklyn, NY), Archpriest Alexandre Antchoutine (dean of the Hudson Valley & Long Island), Abbot Nicodemus (Balyasnikov; cleric of St. Nicholas Patriarchal Cathedral in New York City), Archpriest Dimitri Jakimowicz (rector of St. Nicholas Church in Stratford, CT), Hieromonk Silouan (Justiniano; cleric of St. Dionysios Monastery), Hieromonk Zosimas (Krampis; rector of the English-language mission of the Synodal Cathedral), Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff and Deacon Pavel Roudenko (clerics of the Synodal Cathedral), and Protodeacon Eugene Kallaur (cleric of St. Seraphim Memorial Church in Sea Cliff, NY). Praying at the moleben were numerous diocesan clergy. The moleben was served under the aegis of the Protectress of the Russian Diaspora, the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God.
At the conclusion of the moleben, Bishop Nicholas congratulated Metropolitan Hilarion with his namesday, wishing him good health, saying, in part, “Today we commemorate the Holy Righteous Father John of Kronstadt. His glorification occurred 54 years ago in this cathedral. Among the Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia, we especially honor the memory of the Venerable Nun-Martyrs Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Barbara. In our cathedral, we have a special reliquary containing the relics of Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Nun Barbara.
“Today in the town of Rocky Hill, where the church is dedicated to the memory of St. Elizabeth, we celebrated their lesser patronal feast day and the 20th anniversary of the parish’s founding. This parish, much like other parishes in our Diocese, is flourishing under your wise leadership and attention.
“Like Fr. John of Kronstadt loved God, loved to serve the Liturgy, you also very often celebrate Divine Liturgy, visiting the parishes of the Diocese. Like Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna dedicated herself to serving God and the people, you also show compassion and love to everyone. And we are very grateful to you for this. As St. John of Kronstadt and the New Martyrs & Confessors of Russia adorn the Church of Heaven, and so you, Vladyka, adorn our Church on earth with your ministry. We pray for you, support and love you, and will always be happy to gather to pray for you and thank God for you.”
On behalf of all those present, Bishop Nicholas once again congratulated Metropolitan Hilarion, wishing him strength for many years of service to the Russian Church Abroad, and on behalf of the clergy of the Synodal Cathedral and the brethren of the Kursk Root Hermitage in Russia, presented him with a hierarchal zapivka set.
In turn, Metropolitan Hilarion thanked His Grace and the believers for their kind words, their gift, and for gathering for shared prayer that day.
“Venerable Hilarion, among the numerous venerable saints who rest in the Kiev Caves with their incorrupt relics, shows us a great miracle. This shows their great holiness, which they gained through pray, through fasting, humility, and love. This name was given to me by the ever-memorable Archbishop Averky (Taushev) of Syracuse & Holy Trinity, rector of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville.
“Today it is very important for us to remember the Kiev Caves Lavra, the greatest shrine in Ukraine, and the danger that that country may yet endure. And we pray that the Lord, through the prayers of the saints, protect all the shrines in Ukraine, so that the saints, as before, come out to their defense (and there were such cases when people saw how the saints in the monastery protected it from attacks). We now hope for their prayers, that they will protect the great shrines of the Orthodox Church.”
His Eminence thanked Bishop Nicholas and urged everyone to pray for the archpastors who are care for the Church in these difficult days: “We pray that the Lord will strengthen us in faith, standing for truth, for the canonical Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, and for all Orthodox Christians in the whole world.”
Metropolitan Hilarion invited everyone to a banquet, during which the clergy and parishioners exchanged many kind words with their archpastor. Specially for this momentous day, the sisterhood of the Synodal Cathedral ordered a cake with an image of the Cathedral of the Sign, which was prepared by the artist Vladimir Pridatko. During the meal, believers interacted with the archpastors, clergy and one another in a warm atmosphere.