On Friday and Saturday, December 6-7, 2013, the patronal feast of the Orthodox Church in America’s Representation Church of the Great Martyr Catherine was celebrated here.
On Friday evening, the Vigil and Akathistos Hymn in honor of Saint Catherine were celebrated by His Grace, Bishop Irénée of Quebec City, together with Archimandrite Alexander [Pihach], Dean and OCA Representative to the Moscow Patriarchate, and parish and guest clergy.
The following morning, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated, at which His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion [Alfeyev] of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate [DECR], presided. Also serving were Bishop Irénée; Archimandrite Alexander; Archpriest Nikolai Krechetov, Dean of the Moscow region; Archpriests Nikolai Schibalkin and Vadim Leonov; Priests Christopher Hill and John Kechkin, Assistant to the DECR chairman; Archdeacon Vladimir Nazarkin; Protodeacon Nazari Polataiko, Ottawa; and Deacons Dmitry Asratyan, Cyril Dotsenko, and Jason Mitchell. Services were celebrated in English and Slavonic.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, Metropolitan Hilarion addressed the faithful, expressing his joy in serving at his “home parish”—for over seven years he had served as a priest at Saint Catherine Church.
“Today, with great joy… I crossed the threshold of this temple, where I served from 1995 through 2002, and in which there still a considerable number of parishioners whom I recognize by face,” Metropolitan Hilarion said. “Under the guidance of then-Dean, Father Daniel [Hubiak], we celebrated divine services, and today, an active prayer and liturgical life continues under the appointed Dean, Father Alexander, the Representative of the Orthodox Church in America to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus’.”
Metropolitan Hilarion concluded by calling on the faithful not to listen “to the voices of those who speak as if the Christian faith is outdated and ill-suited for modern man. We only need to listen to the voice of God, which resonates to us through the Holy Gospel and refers to each of us directly…. We must ask the Lord, Who gave us the strength to be confessors of His holy name, to put Christ in the central place… [and to always] please our Heavenly Bridegroom—Christ. Let us ask Saint Catherine for her prayers and heavenly intercession to help us to be worthy of the name of Christ [as His] confessors. Amen. “
In prayerful remembrance of the day, Archimandrite Alexander presented Metropolitan Hilarion with an icon of the Mother of God.
Photo galleries of the celebrations may be viewed here and here.