50th Anniversary of Ascension Parish, Sacramento

On Sunday, 12 October, on the day of the Uncovering of the relics of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco the Miracle-worker, Ascension Parish in the capital of the State of California, Sacramento, celebrated its 50th anniversary. The First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, officiated at the service, along with the Ruling Bishop of the Western American Diocese, His Grace Bishop Kyrill. Archimandrite Anastassy, the Dean of the Southern Deanery of the Western American Diocese, concelebrated, along with Protopriest Alexander Lebedeff, Protopriests Meladin Garich and Lazar Kostur (Serbian Orthodox Church), Protopriest Peter Perekrestov (San Francisco), the Rector of the parish, Fr. Paul Volmensky, Priests Vladimir Mordvinkin (Calistoga) and James Steele (Placerville), along with a host of deacons led by Protodeacon Joseph Jaroschuk.

The church icon of the Ascension of Christ, the Miracle-working Icon “Joy of All Who Sorrow” of Harbin (brought by the Metropolitan), and the icon of St. John of Shanghai, with relics, given to the parish on the eve by His Grace Bishop Kyrill, all stood on the analogions. During the minor entrance at liturgy, the Rector of the church, Fr. Paul Volmensky, was elevated to the rank of protopriest (see photo).

At the end of liturgy, a Synodal Decree of blessing (gramata) was read to the Ascension Parish.

Liturgy ended with a procession of the cross along with a service of supplication to the Savior, the Mother of God and St. John. (Photo below: Protopriest Paul Volmensky holds the icon of St. John with relics, and Protoprist Lazar Kostur, the Harbin Icon of the Mother of God, “Joy of All Who Sorrow.”)

After the service, there was a festive trapeza luncheon to mark the occasion. More than a few clergymen arrived from nearby parishes–Protopriest Stefan Pavlenko (Burlingame), Protopriest George Kurtow (Monterey) and Protopreist Alexander Krassovsky (Santa Rosa). There were also representatives of the American and Greek Orthodox Churches present.

Protopriest Paul Volmensky gave an overview of the history of the parish, and Protopriest Meladin Garich, who 50 years ago was ordained to the priesthood in London by St. John (Maximovitch), also spoke.

On Monday, 13 October, Vladyka Metropolitan Laurus arrived at the Cathedral in San Francisco, where he was greeted with flowers by the members of the Academy of St. John. The First Hierarch prayed at the relics of St. John and then departed for the Church of All Russian Saints in Burlingame, where he performed vigil. On the feast day of the Protection of the Most-Holy Mother of God, Metropolitan Laurus served at Protection Church in Palo Alto.

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